How to Survive in a Hostage Scenario


( – A serious situation that no one wants to be a part of is being in the middle of a hostage situation. It’s possible that not even the perpetrators want to be there, but feel there is no other choice. The chances of being taken as a hostage are very low, however, it can happen anywhere and with notice. This makes it very difficult to prepare for, but there are a few things to keep in mind just in case you find yourself being held captive.

Be Calm

In the midst of a hostage scenario, tensions will be high as stress levels skyrocket. This is true for both the attackers and the victims. Do your best to stay calm and hopefully, others will follow suit. When speaking to the hostage-taker, use a calm, clear, and soft voice. Any sense of fear or aggression may make you become a target of the attacker’s anger.

Observe and Be Aware

Look for escape routes and opportunities when possible. Always be observant and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do the doors open inward or outward?
  • How many attackers are there?
  • Are the attackers armed?
  • If so, how many of them, and what kind of weapons?
  • How many hostages are there?

These are all questions you need to try to answer in this situation. This way, if you do escape or are set free, you can pass as much information to the police as possible.

Speak When Spoken To

Watch the behavior of the captors and work around their emotions; it could give you an edge. Don’t try to talk the attackers down, this will likely cause you to be targeted more frequently. If given permission to speak to the police only answer ‘yes’ and ‘no’.

You are a tool in the criminal’s plan, so you hold little to no value depending on the situation. Refrain from giving them any information that might devalue your already precarious situation or that they might use against you.

For example, don’t speak about your religion or if you’re from another country; depending on the attacker, this may cause them to target you. As strange as it may sound, do your best to respect the attacker and don’t say derogatory things or try to enrage them.

Communication Is Key

Communicating is a big deal, especially if you have a health condition. Hostage-takers typically let the sick people go first. You need to tell them if you’re on any special medication. They don’t want a medical emergency on top of the already tense situation. You can also try to communicate with other captives, but be cautious as it may anger your captors.

Don’t Be a Hero

This isn’t Hollywood. Don’t try to be Rambo. You should only retaliate and fight back if you are trained to do so or if you are certain your life is in immediate danger. This goes for escaping as well; don’t do it unless you are 100% certain you’re going to make it. Don’t mistake courage for stupidity because that could get yourself or others killed.

Law Enforcement

If and when help arrives, they’re not going to give any warning. They’re going to bust in and likely open fire. When this happens hit the ground, stay down, and keep your hands exposed. They’re probably going to aim for people standing up and moving around. You will be treated as a target until the police or law enforcement can confirm you’re innocent.


If you see an easy way out with little to no danger, take it as fast as you can. Escaping before the actual problem occurs will ensure your safety. If you have no choice but to fight back, use anything available to you as a weapon. This includes keys, pens, belts, and ties. Even a fire extinguisher can be used to both distract and injure captors. Whether you give into fight or flight, both of these situations need to be acted upon quickly to increase your odds of success.


If you ever find yourself in a hostage situation, remember to stay calm, be respectful, and be obedient. These actions may very well be the only thing keeping you alive. Be sure to go over any kind of plans or strategies with your family as well. This way, if they’re ever stuck in a hostage situation, they can have a high chance of living as well.

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