Not long after Thomas Eric Duncan passed away from his infection with the Ebola virus the CDC issued a detailed list of guidelines for handling human remains. The decision on Mr. Duncan’s funeral arrangements have been decided to be cremation which is currently one of the options suggested by the CDC in their guideline listing titled, “Guidance for Safe Handling of Human Remains of Ebola Patients in U.S. Hospitals and Mortuaries.”
While health officials and workers were already following PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) guidelines, the postmortem preparation, mortuary care and disposition of the remains is now being discussed as funeral homes across the United Stated discuss increased Ebola scenarios.
For funeral homes the typical embalming procedure has been removed from the process of deceased Ebola patients. While the system has built in precautions to keep mortuary professionals from coming in contact with the body fluids, blood and potentially Ebola, it has been ruled out because of accidents. The CDC’s statement reads, “Do not perform embalming. The risks of occupational exposure to Ebola virus while embalming outweighs its advantages; therfore, bodies infected with Ebola virus should not be embalmed.”
In regards to burial, this is where the CDC has recommended that all remains should use a hermetically sealed casket when being buried and funerals are recommended not to take place. The CDC lists the information under the Disposition of Remains and says, “Remains should be cremated or buried promply in a hermetically sealed casket.” When the bodies are placed in the sealed caskets they are to only be handled with sealed body bags using PPE equipment like surgical scrub suit, surgical cap, impervious gown with full sleeve coverage, eye protection (e.g., face shield, goggles), facemask, shoe covers, and double surgical gloves.
It was not recommended by the CDC to use PPE when handling cremated remains, which destroys the virus or the hermetically sealed caskets. Even though bodies are to be put in sealed caskets, bags and have minimal contact the CDC is still recommending minimal transportation and alerting authorities of any movement. They state, “Transportation of remains that contain Ebola virus should be minimized to the extent possible. All transportation, including local transport, for example, for mortuary care or burial, should be coordinated with relevant local and state authorities in advance.”
A range of websites are referring to the hermetically sealed caskets as “FEMA Caskets” which were found in very large amounts stored throughout the country by the thousands. The FEMA Coffins as they are being called even have a listed U.S. Patent that was issued on June 20th, 1995 listed as a, “Multi-functional Cremation Container for a Cadaver.”
The invention of these FEMA caskets is described in the US Patent # 5,425,163 with the following information for the background of the Invention, “Considerable handling of a corpse is required prior to final disposition of the body. The corpse must be moved from the site of death, possibly stored for identification and mounted for autopsy, moved to a funeral preparation site, mounted again for funeral preparation, moved again to the funeral site, handled in preparing the corpse for the funeral, with possible viewing, and then finally moved to the site for final disposition. In all of the moving and handling, the body and body substances may be exposed to a number of people, both in line of professional services and mourners. It has long been known that the deceased continue to carry the diseases of the cause of death as well as those incidental to such cause, and that these diseases may be highly contagious during the period of time from the moment of death to the final disposition of the body. Today, more then ever, it has become most imperative to treat the deceased with a great deal of care in avoiding the spread of infection. There is a great need for a cremation container for the deceased that is able to contain the corpse and fluids expelled therefrom in such a manner that the spread of infection is totally avoided.”
It seems that a company called Vantage Products Corporation is the manufacturer of these hermetically sealed grave liners and they describe their products offering benefits like, “simplicity and protection that is unrivaled in its value. Innovate design and space age materials combine to create a burial vault with protection and quality at an affordable price, giving you lasting peace of mind.”
There are sites that talk about the FEMA & DHS orders of $1 billion worth of the disposable coffins which are hermetically sealed. Along with ordering the coffins in bulk are also 14 million body bags that have been purchased and 140 million long-life meals or MREs. Along with those sites are sites like Snopes and MetaBunk that claim to debunk the use of these grave lining containers and the storage of them for a mass casualty. The reports reference Madison, GA as the main place of storage for the grave faults and even tries to calculate how many were stored as 73,000 in total instead of 500,000.
While there are sites debunking the potential use of the grave liners as “FEMA caskets” the new CDC announcements and guidelines do seem to align with potential usage of these tools if a large outbreak of Ebola were to occur in the United States.
There are videos on YouTube talking all kinds of theories on the FEMA Camps and FEMA Caskets, we’ve embedded them below for you to see how they could be associated with the hermetically sealed casket guidelines released for Ebola handling.