A hostage situation is any situation in which a person or persons are forced to stay in one location by one or more individuals.

Weapons are usually in the possession of the hostage taker(s), and hostages are threatened with some degree of bodily harm should they not comply with the directives of the hostage taker(s). Certain demands are usually made of outside officials in return for the release of the hostage(s).

All hostage situations are dangerous events. A hostage taker might be a terrorist, fleeing felon, disgruntled employee (past or present), spouse, drug or alcohol abuser, emotionally disturbed person, trespasser and, on occasion, a student or citizen who is usually angry about some situation and decided to resolve it by taking hostages and making demands to achieve some resolution.

Likewise, the dynamics of a hostage situation vary greatly and no two incidents will be the same.

Actions to Take

Hear/Witness A Hostage Situation
  • Remove yourself from any danger by leaving the immediate area.

  • Notify the University Department of Public Safety by calling 9-1-1 or 313-593-5333.

  • Be prepared to provide the following information:

    • Location of incident

    • Number of possible hostage takers

    • Physical description and names of hostage takers, if known

    • Number of possible hostages

    • Any weapons that the hostage takers may have

    • Your name, location, and phone number

Taken Hostage
  • Cooperate with your captor(s) to the fullest extent possible; treat them as normal as possible. Be respectful, ask for permission to speak and do not argue or make suggestions.
  • Try to establish a relationship with your captor(s) and get to know them. Captors are less likely to harm you if they respect you.
  • Under all circumstances, attempt to remain calm and be alert to situations that you can exploit to your advantage.
  • Do not attempt to escape unless there is an extremely good chance of survival. It is safer to be submissive and obey your captor(s).
  • Observe the captor(s) and try to memorize their physical traits, voice patterns, clothing, or other details that can help provide a description later.

Emergency Management

1156 -
Administration Building (AB)
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