Have you ever thought about what might happen to your loved one's remains if, heaven forbid, your home or the funeral home columbarium catches fire?
Several people have asked, "Are urns fireproof?"
If you're one of them, here's what you need to know.
Are Cremation Urns Fireproof?
The short answer is, no. Urns are not fireproof.
After all, there are very few things that are truly fireproof. Everything will burn or melt if it gets hot enough. Urns - of any material - are no different.
Plastic or cardboard temporary urns will easily melt or burn. Most metal urns can withstand some contact with fire, but are not designed to resist the full heat of a raging fire. Wood urns will of course burn.
Ceramic and glass urns are made in fire, so they can withstand some heat, but any fire that burns down a house will get hot enough to negatively affect ceramic or glass urns.
Stone urns are a little different. If your urn is made from genuine solid marble or granite, it will be a lot more heat-resistant than most other materials.
However, most of the stone urns (like ours) on the market are cultured marble or granite (meaning man-made) and are actually not very heat resistant at all.
So again, no, most cremation urns are not fireproof. Most urns for ashes are barely even heat-resistant.
Cremated Ashes & Fire Concerns
How do you address concerns for fire damage regarding your loved one's remains?
Here are some ideas.
With your loved one's cremated remains buried in the ground, you won't need to worry about fire at all. Often, the remains are buried inside of an urn which is placed inside of a protective urn burial vault.
Our burial vaults are made from polymer. This is ideal for affordability and security when protecting the cemetery grounds when burying the urn. And fire damage to items buried in the ground is extremely unlikely. Still, these vaults are not fireproof or resistant.
However, concrete is highly fire-resistant. Most cemeteries offer poured concrete burial vaults as an option (or sometimes requirement) for the burial of urns or caskets in their grounds.
So if you choose ground burial with a concrete burial vault, the urn will be very well-protected from fire damage.
If you've already committed to sending your loved one's ashes back to the earth through scattering, there will be a sense of peace knowing that anything that happens - including fire - is a natural part of the way things are out there in nature.
One way to insure against losing your loved one's remains to fire is to divide the remains.
You can split the remains among family members, which at a minimum will spread out the ashes across town and minimize the chance of losing all in fire at the same time.
Or divide the ashes into different urns in different locations. Keep a portion of the remains in separate parts of the house, or in your main home and vacation home.
Along the same lines, you can protect against the total loss of remains through fire by wearing a tiny portion in cremation jewelry.
There are many options, including rings, necklaces, and bracelets. The idea is that you take a very small amount of ashes - usually just a pinch - and place it into a pendant vessel that you can wear as a jewelry memorial.
Best Fireproof Urns
So, what do you do if you need a fireproof urn?
Again, nothing is fully fireproof. But if you want to increase the chances that your loved one's urn will endure the heat from a fire, here are some options.
Make a concrete urn
Concrete is one of the most fire resistant materials out there, and it's relatively affordable and easy to work with on your own.
You could make your own urn vessel by using forms and molds, and creating a lid. With sufficient thickness, this structure would likely survive any house fire.
Make a concrete memorial
Alternatively, you could mix the ashes into concrete and create an art piece, structure, or series of blocks. This wouldn't really be an urn (since a cremation urn is a container) but it would surely help protect the ashes from fire damage.
Use fire retardant spray
You can find these at home improvement stores. It won't make the urn fireproof, but it will add a measure of protection.
Put the urn in a fire resistant bag or wrap
Most people prefer a beautiful urn to display. However, if you're concerned about fire damage, you can get a fireproof bag or cloth to add a layer of protection to the urn.
This is ideal if you are traveling out of town for a while. Take a moment to add that little extra bit of protection - who knows, sometimes it's the little things that make the difference.
Place the urn on the mantle
It may make no difference, especially if the entire house gets burned down.
But think about it - what's left standing after a fire? Answer: The fireplace.
If you choose to display the urn on your mantle, at the very least it will be surrounded by the most non-flammable materials in the house. That might offer the slight bit of protection you need.
So, which urns do we recommend? In order, we would suggest:
Ultimately, there are no fireproof urns. The best you can do is make smart choices and practice fire safety.