Confessions of a crematorium worker

IT IS one of the most morbid - and fascinating - jobs on the planet.

And now, a crematorium worker has revealed all the secrets of the trade.

Taking to popular parenting forum Mumsnet, a user identified only as ILoveKermit invited others to ask any burning questions they may have about the ins and outs of the business of death.

The woman, who revealed she took the job after finding herself at a "crossroads" after leaving the army, was inundated with questions about both the practical and emotional side of the very unique job.

She told users she "absolutely adores" her work, as she enjoys "helping people at their most vulnerable time".

And she said being surrounded by death had helped her learn to truly appreciate life.

"I refer to ashes as their name but I don't have any emotion as I didn't know the person," she wrote.

"I get sad at babies/small children/people my own age but keep it to myself.

"It makes me embrace life and live it to the full. I find I don't sweat the small stuff as there is someone worse off than me."

She confirmed that grieving families "absolutely 100 per cent" get the correct ashes, as the crematorium follows a strict ID system to ensure no mix-ups occur - despite rumours to the contrary.

According to the poster, cremations take place on the same day as the funeral service, but not directly after.

Black smoke does occasionally come out of the chimney - but only if there is something that shouldn't be in there.

And any metal - such as pins inserted during operations, or piercings - are removed before the deceased person's bones are broken down into ashes, and are then sent for recycling, although families can request that the metal from cremation to be returned to them.

After every cremation, the cremator is entirely raked out with all debris and remains removed before the next body is cremated.

Only one coffin can be placed in the cremator at a time, even if multiple family members passed away at the same time.

The technician also revealed coffins are never reused, nor are any handles, nameplates or other paraphernalia.

"The rules are - the cremation is finished when the last flicker of orange flame has been extinguished," she wrote. "We have a spy hole to check how the cremation is doing.

"We have to wear heatproof clothing and I wear a breathing mask when dealing with ashes."

Luckily, there is no noticeable smell as "it's all contained within the cremator which is slightly pressurised", and there's apparently no such thing as a standard cremation.

"An average cremation takes between 70-90 minutes depending on how you died/weight/age/sex," she posted.

"Some take longer some take shorter. I've done a 60 minute one and a three hour one.

"You really can't judge it until they're in."

Although most days are quite routine, the technician said she had experienced some hairy situations in the job.

"I've heard a pacemaker go off and it was a very large explosion but fortunately didn't damage the cremator," she wrote.

"A power cut will switch the cremator off but the cremation will still happen but very slowly. "We are not allowed to open the cremator door under any circumstance, even if the crematorium is burning to the ground."

So will ILoveKermit choose cremation at the end of her own life?

"I choose cremation any day. Don't want to be worm food," she said.

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