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What to do in the Event of a Hostage Situation

HostageIf you hear or witness a hostage situation:

  • Remove yourself from danger by leaving the area
  • Notify the police
  • Be prepared to give the police the following information:
    • Location of incident
    • Number of possible hostage takers
    • Physical description and/or names of hostage-takers, if possible
    • Number of possible hostages
    • Any weapons the hostage-takers may have
    • Your name
    • Your location and phone number

If you are taken hostage:

  • Remain calm, be polite, and cooperate with your captors
  • DO NOT attempt to escape unless there is an exceptional chance of survival
  • It is safer to be submissive and obey your captors
  • Speak normally - DO NOT complain, avoid being belligerent, and comply with all orders and instructions
  • DO NOT draw attention to yourself with sudden body movements, statements, comments, or hostile looks
  • Observe the captors and try to memorize their physical traits, voice patterns, clothing, or other details that can help you provide a description later
  • Avoid getting into political or ideological discussions
  • Try to establish a relationship with your captors
  • Captors are less likely to harm you if there is a bond or connection, regardless of how trivial
  • If forced to present the terrorists’ demands to authorities, either in writing or on tape, state clearly that the demands are from your captors
  • Avoid making a plea on your behalf
  • Try to stay low to the ground and away from windows or doors, if possible

In a rescue situation:

  • DO NOT RUN - drop to the floor and remain still
  • If that is not possible, cross your arms, bow your head, and standstill
  • Make no sudden movements that may be interpreted as hostile or threatening
  • Wait and obey instructions
  • Do not be upset, resist, or argue if a rescuer isn’t sure whether you are a terrorist or a hostage
  • Even if you are handcuffed and searched, DO NOT resist
  • Wait for the confusion to clear