Image: Fridge, body storage
Fridge for storing bodies.
- © Australian Museum
Normally, a body can be held by a person for no more than five days or by a funeral director for seven working days and it must be held in a certified holding facility. However, the Director General of the NSW Health can give conditional approval for storage in a private home. This approval can be obtained by sending a fax outlining the funeral plans to the relevant Area Health Service Public Health Unit who will send approval by return fax if the plans are acceptable.
To protect public health, a body cannot be stored unrefrigerated for more than 48 hours. Normally a funeral director will take care of the body, and funeral directors must have approved, refrigerated holding facilities. Some hospitals may be able to store the body of someone who has died in hospital until a family can arrange a funeral. However, many busy hospitals would be unable to do this. If a family is well prepared for a funeral prior to death, it would be possible to dispose of the body without needing refrigerated storage. For example, Muslims and Jews prefer to bury a body within 24 hours of death. Some do-it-yourself funerals have successfully kept the body chilled using frozen two-litre milk containers, packed around the body.