FEMA Special Events Contingency Planning Toilets

From FEMA Public Health Risks and Hazards Analysis, Toilets  Pages 39-41 dtd Jan 4, 01

If Existing Toilet Facilities Are Judged Inadequate

Where existing toilet facilities are judged inadequate, you must make available additional portable units.

Toilet locations should be:

  • Well-marked;
  • Well-lit (including the surrounding area) if night use is anticipated;
  • Serviced (including pump-out of portables) on a 24-hour schedule during the event (vehicle access is obviously necessary);
  • Located away from food storage and food service areas; and
  • Secured to prevent tipping.

Toilets are a useful area in which to also make available facilities to:

  • Provide for the safe disposal of needles, syringes, and other sharps; and
  • If appropriate, provide condoms at some events.

Determining the Number of Toilets to Provide

The following considerations will determine the number of toilets to be provided for particular events:

  • Duration of the event
  • Type of crowd
  • Weather conditions
  • Whether the event is pre-ticketed and numbers known or unticketed
  • Whether finishing times are staggered if the event has multi-functions, and
  • Whether alcohol will be consumed.

Calculating the number of toilets required for an event is a matter for conjecture. Where local laws or regulations do not exist, the following guidelines can be applied. Better management of events can be achieved by providing additional facilities. Assume a 50/50 male/female split unless otherwise advised. The following tables should only be used as a guide.

Special Events Contingency Planning 40

Risks and Hazards Analysis

Toilet facilities for events where alcohol is not available:





Toilet facilities for events where alcohol is available:


These figures may be reduced for shorter duration events as follows:

Duration of event Quantity required

  • More than 8 hrs 100%
  • 6-8 hrs 80%
  • 4-6 hrs 75%
  • Less than 4 hrs 70%

Toilets for the Disabled

At least one unisex toilet for the disabled is required. Check with your local ADA office for further guidance.

Food Vendors’ Toilets

Separate toilet and hand washing facilities should be made available for food handlers.

General Considerations

In an outdoor setting, it is a relatively simple matter to provide additional toilets by hiring temporary, portable toilets. This solution may not be suitable for indoor settings, for which provision of additional toilets may be more difficult. One possible solution is to convert some men’s washrooms to women’s for events where you anticipate a predominantly female audience, or vice versa.



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