If you hear or see a hostage situation unfolding:
- Immediately remove yourself from any danger if safe to do so.
- Immediately notify CEP at ext. 2888 for on campus and 637-2888 off campus and Emergency Services 911.
- Stay on the line with the dispatcher and be prepared to give emergency personnel the following information:
- Your name, location and number.
- Location and room number of incident.
- Number of possible hostage takers.
- Physical description of the hostage taker and possible names if known (student, employee, stranger, etc.).
- Who was taken hostage (number of hostages)?
- Identify weapons the hostage taker may have.
- Relay any demands the hostage taker has made if known.
- In a hostage situation the Emergency Alert Notification System will be activated and building lockdown procedures will be initiated.
If you are taken hostage:
- Stay calm, be passive and non-threatening.
- Do not put yourself at risk by initiating aggressive actions.
- Do what you are told and remember that the first 45 minutes are the most dangerous. Follow instructions and be alert.
- Don’t speak unless spoken to and then only when necessary.
- Don’t talk down or attempt to rationalize with the captor (hostage taker).
- Don’t make suggestions: you could be blamed if the idea goes wrong.
- Avoid appearing hostile or argumentative: treat your captors like royalty.
- Maintain eye contact with your captor but do not stare.
- Never turn your back on your captor.
- Always expect the unexpected (severe mood swings, irrational behavior, etc.).
- Do not make quick or sudden moves.
- If you must go to the bathroom, need medications or first aid, seek permission from your captor(s).
- Be observant and memorize captor(s) names, identifying features, tattoos, scars, etc. This information will be very helpful to police as well the safety of others may depend on what you remember about the situation. It is possible that some hostages may be released earlier than others as part of the negotiation process.
- If forced to present demands to authorities, state clearly that the demands are from your captor and answer only “yes” or “no” if you end up fielding questions from authorities.
- Try to signal the police if your captors are listening in on the line.
- If situation becomes volatile, try to stay low to the ground or behind cover from windows or doors.
In a hostage rescue situation:
- Do not run.
- Drop to the floor and remain still.
- Stay down with your hands on your head.
- Make no sudden moves that a tense rescuer may interpret as hostile or threatening.
- Wait and obey all instructions you are given.
- Do not be upset, resist or argue if a rescuer isn’t sure whether you are a hostage taker or a hostage.
- Even if you are searched and handcuffed, do not resist. Just wait for the confusion to clear.
- You will be taken to a safe area, where proper identification and information status will be determined.
Most hostage situations are resolved through negotiation but this process usually takes time.