How To Handle a Hostage Situation

Being held hostage is definitely a terrifying experience - you don't know if rescue is on the way or if the hostage takers are kind enough to spare your life. However, you need to keep in mind that your actions will determine your fate. You can always save your life as long as you know how to handle a hostage situation.

Here are some tips on how you can properly handle a hostage situation:

  • Think rationally. If you are kidnapped, then the first thing that will be running on your mind is to escape. In most cases, it is easier to escape while you are still not taken to another place. However, keep your mind focused because a wrong move might just be your death. So, measure realistic and unrealistic moves before you do it.
  • Stay calm. Of course, you can't help but to panic. However, if you gain the courage to be calm, you also gain the clear thinking of how you can survive this situation.
  • Observe details. From the very start of the captivation, as much as possible, be keen to observe on a lot of details that may help you plan an escape, know the motives of the kidnapping team, and apprehend the kidnappers later on. Also, it is important to know who the captors are, how many they are, what weapons they have, and a lot more. If you have a video recorder by any chance, you can take a video of the captors. However, be extra careful when you do this.
  • Check your physical state. Examine whether you are wounded or not and determine if you can go for a successful escape or if you first need some time to rest.
  • Understand the situation you are in. Your decision for escaping or not greatly depends on what the motive is for the kidnapping. If for example you are abducted for an exchange of a ransom, then escape is not much of an issue since the captors will only need you alive. However, in instances that some terrorist, serial killer, or rapist kidnaps you, chances are you really need to think of an effective way out.
  • Show the abductors that you are worthy of their respect. Don't cry or show them that you are weak. Stop thinking that you are in a movie. Don't beg and never ever challenge them to do anything especially if it is your safety, which is at risk.
  • Cooperate with the abductors within reason. Don't threaten your captors or even insult them. If you can, talk to your abductors and build a little rapport even with one of them. In that case, if you establish even a little bond, the captors will be hesitant to hurt you. Most importantly, don't try to escape until the time is right. An unsuccessful escape will only lead to a lot of troubles.
  • Follow the instructions of rescuers if ever an operation is going on. In this case, the authority will not put you at risk. So obey them and keep calm.

Yes, you might be in a movie-like scenario but remember not to play hero at all times and be cautious about your acts. Keep in mind that most of the time, your life lies not on your captors' hands but your very own hands.


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