Missouri State University

What to do if you are Taken Hostage

The following procedures should be implemented:

  • Be patient. Time is on your side. Avoid drastic action.
  • The initial forty-five (45) minutes are the most dangerous. Follow instructions; be alert and stay alive. The captor is emotionally unbalanced. Do not make mistakes which could hazard your well-being.
  • Do not speak unless spoken to, and then only when necessary. Do not talk down to the captor who may be in an agitated state. Avoid appearing hostile. DO NOT look the captor directly in the eyes. Treat the captor like royalty.
  • Try to rest. Avoid speculation. Comply with instructions as best as you can. Avoid arguments. Expect the unexpected.
  • Be observant. You may be released or be able to escape. The personal safety of others may depend on your memory of the situation.
  • Be prepared to answer the police on the phone. Be patient. Wait.
  • Attempt to establish rapport with the captor. If medication, first aid, or restroom privileges are needed by anyone – say so. The captor, in all probability, does not want to harm persons held by him or her. Such direct action further implicates the captor in additional offenses.
  • IF THE CAPTOR TRIES TO COVER YOUR HEAD WITH A BAG, SACK, OR OTHER OBJECT, IT HAS NOW BECOME NECESSARY FOR YOU TO FAKE AN ILLNESS OR FAINT.