In the winter months, when the ground is frozen and there are layers of snow on top, one question you might have is whether winter burials can happen.
The answer is, yes, they can.
Our grounds team has the tools to prepare for winter burials, and works extra hard to prepare a gravesite during the winter months. A lot of organization is required, and preparation for a single winter burial can take up to 4 hours.
Keep reading to find out the steps that our crew takes to prepare for winter interments at Woodlawn Memorial Park.
1. Pre-planning the gravesite
Our team will get started 1-2 days before a scheduled burial date by examining the location and any variables, such as snowfall and ground frost.
2. Clearing snow from the site
Depending on the location of the burial, our team will complete an assessment to determine entry points to the gravesite. If there is snow on the ground, we will use our snowblower to clear the area in order to allow our vault trucks and other machinery to come through. Clearing snow will also help to ensure the safety of the funeral home representatives and funeral attendees who will access the site.
3. Locating lot pins to ensure measurements
Once the area is cleared of snow, our team will search for the corner pins of a lot. These pins are used as markers to identify the outline of each lot. The pins are quite small, so they get covered by grass and snow and can be hard to dig out of the frozen ground. Once the pins are located, our team will use axes to get through the frost and create a string around the site, using spray paint to ensure the interment site is clearly identifiable.
4. Breaking through the frost
Once the burial site is lined up and measured, our team’s next step is to set up their digging equipment, including a breaker head (seen above) that is able to dig through ground frost.
Once the equipment is set up, we begin breaking up the ground within the outlined space, removing dirt, and working to loosen up the earth to get below the frost line. Once the frozen ground has been broken through, our team will change out the equipment to remove the remaining soil.
5. Finishing steps prior to the day of service
Once the space has been completely dug out, we will cover the opening with wood planks and a tarp, and mark it with pylons to ensure safety.
5. Day of service
On the day of service, if a vault or liner is being used, the vault company will deliver and install it into the grave prior to the service and the family’s arrival. The lid will be placed nearby for our team to install once the service is complete.
Next, our team will dress the site with greenery and cocoa mats to help with slippery conditions. Cocoa mats will also be placed along the site to the road to help guide the Funeral Directors and attendees to the correct location. A sign is also placed nearby roadside to help guide traffic.
Once the service is over, our team will finish preparing for the winter interment by closing up and tidying the site. All winter burial locations will be revisited in the spring and topped up with soil and seed to promote grass growth.
At Woodlawn Memorial Park, we take great pride in our services, including preparing for winter burials. Serving our families is important to us. If you have questions about our services and procedures, or you would like more information on burial locations and availability, please contact our office so we can assist you.