Crisis policy appendices

Appendix: Definitions of crisis

Personnel Care Matrix 1

Rows: Types of crisis
Natural disasters – earthquake, volcano, typhoon, flood, tornado, fire, famine, drought, landslide, epidemic, etc. [Become familiar with appropriate mission crisis management policies, procedures, protocols, and personnel regarding management of these issues.]

Human-­induced act of hostility – murder, hostage, theft, armed robbery, physical 
assault, sexual assault/rape, war, revolution, coup, terrorism, bombs, dangerous living situation, any violence involving a member, etc. [Become familiar with appropriate mission crisis management policies, procedures, protocols, and personnel regarding management of these issues.]

Ethical shock – child abuse, extra-­marital affairs, sexual immorality, abortion, homosexuality, suicide/suicide attempt, divorce/separation, embezzlement, intense conflict, HIV/AIDS or exposure to these, sexual harassment, pornography, etc. [Read and follow appropriate mission policies, procedures, and protocols regarding these issues.]

Bizarre behavior – psychotic break, anorexia, bulimia, desertion, multiple personality or dissociative identity disorder (D.I.D.), effects of past satanic cult involvement, etc. [This area is less governed by organizational policy and therefore may be a more challenging administrative task.]

Tragedy – accidental death, plane crash, auto crash, severe accidental injury, sudden illness resulting in a rapid death, etc. [These, while tragic, may elicit resources from colleagues that need not be specialized.]

Columns: Principle personnel
Primary victim(s)

those most 
directly affected by the crisis situation
Secondary victim(s)

those indirectly 
affected or directly 
affected to a lesser 
degree than the 
primary victim(s)

causative agent(s)

person(s) or 
event(s) directly 
linked to cause of the crisis situation
Others affected

all others affected 
by the crisis situation (within reasonable 

Appendix: Daily safety precautions
  1. Your own image is part of your security – attire that respects the local culture, respect of traditions, not talking politics or religion in public places, respect of local laws, not making promises you can’t keep, and trying always to be impartial and fair.

  2. Develop a security-conscious lifestyle. Take the time to do a threat assessment that considers terrorism, civil disorder, and criminal activity in the area.

  3. Keep all important phone numbers in your passport; send a photo of yourself as an attachment to an email to yourself along with all important info in case you would lose your passport. Make copies of your passport and current visa.

  4. Look for the unusual – loiterers, unauthorized parked cars, your car being followed, etc. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable about someone or some place, leave immediately.

  5. Avoid the routine. Change the route to and from your home and place of work.

  6. Always act confident, even if you don’t feel confident. Act as if you know what you are doing and where you are going.

  7. Avoid unknown “shortcuts” and do not walk alone at night.

  8. Do not accept rides from strangers, other than official means of transportation. 

  9. Know your neighborhood, your neighbors, the locale of the local police department and the location of your embassy.

  10. When walking, walk close to the edge of the road, facing traffic. Avoid walking past bushes or other places where potential attackers may be hiding. If someone suspicious is walking behind you, cross the street. If the person follows, go to a public place where others are around. Call attention to yourself, if necessary.

  11. If a driver pulls up to ask questions, do not approach the vehicle or accept an invitation to look at their map as it could be a ruse for a kidnapping. Speak from where you are.

  12. Pickpockets often jostle you, ask for directions or the time, or beg for money to distract you. If you carry a personal bag with a strap across your chest, it may pose a risk.

  13. Do not wear clothing that declares your foreign citizenship.

  14. Don’t take pictures of any government or military or public service building.

  15. Use your common sense; think before you act. It is not always wise to follow your curiosity.

  16. Always tell your team members your travel plans – where you are going, when you are leaving, when you are returning. Call them when you get there and when you get back.

  17. When walking or jogging, keep valuables in a front pocket or under your clothing. Do not use an iPod. If you are followed, tell someone you need help. Don’t take shortcuts through isolated areas.

  18. If you have a cell phone, keep it with you at all times.

  19. Carry enough money with you to be able to take a taxi home for any situation that may arise.
(Adapted from Church World Service Security Manual)

Appendix: Guidelines for travel security 
  1. Run a security check before traveling to unknown areas. Consider the internet and the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) membership as sources of information. 

  2. Do not travel during special holidays or national liberation days if at all possible. 

  3. Choose your travel agency with care. Will they keep your travel plans confidential?  Choose airlines that have known safety records.  Avoid dangerous airports when possible.

  4. Never give your itinerary to a stranger.

  5. Keep a low profile. Choose inconspicuous luggage. Dress like the locals. Don't wear expensive jewelry. Give the impression that you do not have political power, wealth, status, or influence.

  6. Do not use luggage tags that identify you as a westerner. Addresses on tags should not be visible without opening them. Put your name and address inside your luggage for claiming. Name on luggage tag should be the same as the airline ticket. Name and address are sufficient; don't indicate titles and name of business.

  7. Keep essentials like medication, glasses, and valuables in carry-­on luggage. 

  8. Carry a small but strong flashlight.

  9. Do not collect luggage decals on your luggage. 

  10. The boarding area is the safest part in the airport. Check luggage and move immediately to the boarding area. 

  11. Do not accept packages from strangers or casual acquaintances, and ensure that you see all the contents of anything you accept to carry for another person. Check overhead luggage compartments for unattended packages. 

  12. Before leaving the airport with someone you don't know, call to confirm who is to pick you up. 

  13. Pick a taxi that's in good mechanical condition. Don't let the taxi driver pick you. You pick the driver and taxi. 

  14. Write down the taxi license plate number in the presence of the driver.

  15. Use taxis that have air conditioning, when possible, so the windows can be kept closed. 

  16. Ride first class on cross­-country buses and trains. It's safer.

  17. Use motel rooms that are not accessible from the ground floor. Use western hotels or hotels with a western security approach.

  18. Use fourth­, fifth­, and sixth­ level hotel rooms. They keep you away from crime but limit the fire or smoke inhalation danger of higher levels.

  19. Lock doors opening into your hotel room upon entering.

  20. Do not open your room door to someone you don't know. If suspicious, call the front desk. 

  21. Lock your bags in the hotel room. 

  22. Use money belts or a wallet suspended from a shoulder harness rather than just clipped onto your waist. 

  23. Keep good tires on your personal vehicle. 

  24. Keep the fuel tank at least half full. 

  25. Wear your seat belt as the biggest danger in most countries is auto accidents. 

Appendix: General guidelines if attacked or assaulted
  1. The first and primary objective if attacked is to SURVIVE! Nothing you possess is worth your life! Be ready to give up any material possession.

  2. There are no hard and fast rules. But keep calm. Maintain visual contact with the attacker by watching his hands, not his eyes, as he will use his hands for any action to hurt you. You may choose to try and talk your way out of the situation. If you choose to resist, use your bag or briefcase as a shield between you and the attacker.

  3. Diffusing anger, hostility and aggression:
  • Recognize the aggressor is often feeling threatened and fearful and will respond even more aggressively if he/she feels more threatened.
  • Focus on communicating respect with listening and non-­verbal skills. Be conscious of your facial expressions and body posture in terms of local, culturally appropriate customs. Assertive confrontation can clarify the situation and your intention (not appropriate if person is armed or it is a potentially lethal threat).
  • Cooperate with armed aggressors unless their demands are outrageous.
  • Remain calm.
  • Show interest in meeting the other persons’ needs or resolving the issue.
  • Help the other person save face.
  • Use the other person’s name when responding to them. Personalize them.
     4. Report the incident to the local authorities if this is known to be a good action 
         and to your team leader/supervisor.

     5. Request a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD).

Sexual assault 
  1. The options for response to a sexual assault are limited. Remember that the primary objective is to SURVIVE.
    ● Submit:  If you are in fear for your life, you may choose to submit.
    ● Passive resistance:  Do or say anything to “ruin” the attacker’s desire to have sexual contact. Make yourself vomit, anything distasteful or disgusting.
    ● Active resistance:  Any type of physical force to fight off the attacker such as striking, kicking, biting, scratching, shouting, or running away.

  2. Report the incident to your team leader/supervisor for follow ­up crisis care of a CISD, medical care, counseling services, etc. You will have to decide whether or not to report the incident to local authorities. (Factors include whether police in your country believe you could be a victim, whether they would take you to a hospital for an examination,  and what the situation would be legally for you if the suspect is caught.)

  3. Sexual assault and its aftermath can be really difficult. You need persons who can support and walk the healing journey with you.
Carjacking can occur when stopped at a traffic light, when parked, when passing through a checkpoint, or when driving down the road.  

Factors contributing to the risk of carjacking:
  • Driving a nice vehicle
  • Traveling through unknown areas at night
  • Traveling alone
  • Predictable routine driving routes
  • Not paying attention to what is happening around you on the road
To reduce the risk of carjacking:
  1. Be observant. Watch for vehicles following you at a constant distance. Look for suspicious persons loitering along the roadside in high risk areas, at stop signs or traffic lights. Notice if they are signaling one another.

  2. Familiarize yourself with the carjacking threat in your area. Is it happening at roadblocks, staged accident scenes, being forced off the road by another vehicle, or from bogus emergency vehicles?

  3. Always survey the places you may be required to slow down or stop. A common ruse is for bandits to place a boulder in the middle of the road at a location where it seems the rock just rolled off the hillside. Don’t drive up to the situation, but put the vehicle in reverse and back out to a distance safe enough to turn around.

  4. If another driver signals you to pull over for no apparent reason, don’t do it.

  5. If the driver of the vehicle behind you “bumps” your vehicle, don’t stop until you reach a safe haven. If it was an unintentional bump, the driver of the other vehicle will follow you.
If hijackers are encountered, the driver must make an immediate decision as to whether he/she will stop or take evasive action. Weigh the costs! Taking evasive action may result in being fired upon or pursued and caught at a different location. It could also result in provoking the hijackers to further action. Stopping means placing yourself at the mercy of the hijackers. You may lose your vehicle and valuables or you may be assaulted or kidnapped.

If you are forced to stop:
  • Do not resist. Surrender any valuables you have and your vehicle.
  • Keep your hands in plain sight.
  • Do not make sudden moves; clearly explain your movements.
  • Keep the engine running. If they want your vehicle, let them drive off quickly.
  • Leave the door open when you get out.
  • Do not display anger, be aggressive, or appear rude.
  • Try to note how many hijackers are present, physical descriptions, etc. without being conspicuous.
(Adapted from Church World Service’s Security Manual)

NOTE:  If you are going to a country where you may have to deal with land mines or possible biological/chemical attacks, please ask the Human Resources director for more resourcing on prevention guidelines.  


Appendix: Guidelines on bomb threats
History shows that bombing is by far the most common type of terrorism.  When faced with a bomb threat, the number one priority is to prevent panic. Since there are many harassment threats of this type, the bomb threat may not be legitimate. All threats must be considered real and taken seriously. This applies to all threats, whether the threat promises personal injury, destruction by a bomb or a death threat. It must be considered valid until proven otherwise. 

Parcel and letter bomb identification: 
  • Look for packages that are oddly bundled with rubber bands, string, excessive tape, as if to compress the contents. 
  • Look for packages with wire attached or poking out. 
  • Many parcel and letter bombs look oily or stained. 
  • Look for excessive postage for the weight of the package. (Terrorists don’t usually go to the post office to have the package weighed.) 
  • Many package bombs have a peculiar smell, like almonds or shoe polish. 
  • Conspicuous marks like “Confidential” and “Personal"
  • No return address
  • Incorrect spelling of recipient's name or address
DO NOT TOUCH the letter/envelope/parcel again as police or embassy security personnel may be able to lift fingerprints from the paper. Just notify the authorities.

If you receive a telephone threat, try to keep the caller on the line. If possible,  turn on a tape recorder to establish a permanent record of the event. Learn from what the caller says by asking the right questions. An important question that can help you determine whether or not the bomb threat is a hoax is one concerning the location of the bomb. Ask the caller if the bomb is in a place that does not exist. If the caller says the bomb is at that location, then you know the threat is groundless. A “sweep” should still be made of the building for safety reasons.

A bomb threat assessment checklist is a good tool to use when faced with a telephone threat. Assessment should include:
  • Time the threat was received
  • Telephone line number used
  • When will the bomb detonate?
  • Where was the bomb placed?
  • How many bombs were placed?
  • Who planted the bomb?  For what reason?
  • Was the caller male or female?
  • Guess the approximate age of the caller.
  • Emotional state of the caller? Calm, excited, angry?
  • Were there any background noises?
  • Were there any identifying characteristics about the caller’s voice?
  • Did the caller ask for a particular person?
  • Write down what the caller said, using exact words if possible.
After receiving a bomb threat, call the supervisor, police, embassy, fire department, ambulance, phone company, and electric company.

If professionals are not available and you are required to conduct the search:
  • Search in pairs. 
  • One team inside and one team outside
  • Search room by room. 
  • Mark each room after it has been searched with a piece of tape on the door. 
  • When searching a room, divide the search into the upper half of the room and lower half of the room. Have one team member search the upper half and the other team member search the lower half. Then have the team members switch and search the opposite halves of the room. This way the room is searched twice. 
  • As you search, open windows and doors to lessen the effects of the blast and reduce shrapnel. 
  • Pay particular attention to any areas that may be open to the public, such as restrooms, custodial closets. 
  • Do not turn on light switches during the search; they may be an activation point. 
  • Do not use radios or cell phones during the search. They may detonate the bomb. 
  • The outside team should also search high and low, like the inside team. 
  • Outside team members must be aware that bombs could be hidden in bushes, mailboxes, trashcans, or parked cars.
  • Never tell management or others that an area is “all clear." Tell them the search revealed nothing in that area. 
Finding a device
A bomb can resemble anything – a brief case, a canister, a box, a radio, anything! Look for anything you don’t recognize as belonging. If an unidentified item is found, DON’T TOUCH IT!  It could be activated by touch.  

Leave the building and call the local authorities. If a device is found or if a device is detonated, it does not mean the area is safe. Secondary devices are extremely common among bombers. The first bomb is set off to give occupants and rescue personnel a false sense of security, luring them into the site they think is safe. The second device then detonates taking a higher toll than the first. 

(Adapted from Church World Service’s Security Manual) 

Appendix: Kidnapping (attach recognition and prevention with guidelines if taken hostage)
Criminal attack vs. a terrorist attack 
  1. A criminal attack is an act of violence, perpetrated against another for a variety of reasons, in violation of federal or state statutes. 

  2. Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political, social, or religious objectives. 
While both acts are considered criminal, there is a significant difference between criminal attacks and terrorist attacks. 

Criminal attacks 
  1. Criminals usually select their victims at random. 

  2. Criminal attacks are usually “crimes of opportunity” committed at a moment's notice or as the situation allows. 

  3. Criminal attacks are usually not well planned. 

  4. Criminals do not usually “train” for their attacks. They may have experience from other criminal acts, but they do not train for them. 

  5. In most cases of criminal attack, the attack site is not pre-­chosen. Criminal attacks usually occur on the spot and out of the mainstream, where the crime will not be observed. 
Terrorist attacks 
  1. Terrorists, on the other hand, usually plan their attacks. 

  2. Terrorists carefully study and select their targets (victims) ahead of time. 

  3. Terrorists practice their attacks. There is usually a “dry run” before the actual attack, similar to a military assault. 
Note: History reveals that once attacked by terrorists, the victim has little chance of thwarting the attack. 

Analysts of terrorist attacks report a pattern of five phases regarding each event. In fact, it may be described as a sequence of events. The sequence is as follows: 
  1. Target selection 
In the target selection phase the terrorists initially look at several targets. They usually choose the target with the greatest ratio for success. Some of the criteria for target selection include: 
  • The one with the greatest “value,” such as the organization’s director. 
  • The one most vulnerable, that is, the one with the fewest security measures. 
  • The one most predictable (routine). 
  • The one chosen is considered the “soft” target. 
       2. Target intelligence 
All terrorists need information to carry out their threats. Information is gathered through surveillance. In other words, they watch you! The information they seek includes: 
  • Your habits 
  • Your daily itinerary 
  • Your routine 
  • The routes you take to and from work 
  • The security measures you employ, such as access to your residence, car park, etc. 
Note: The target intelligence phase may be the one and only time terrorists reveal themselves and, if alert, you can identify them and prevent the attack. 

       3. Operational planning 
After the target is selected and intelligence has been gathered, the terrorists choose the attack site. They choose the attack site, or “kill zone,” on information you have provided during their surveillance. It will usually include tactical advantages such as: 
  • A place with “high ground” for snipers. 
  • A place that is conducive to the element of surprise. 
  • A place that has a good escape route.
Once the site has been chosen, the terrorists practice their attack against you through a series of “dry runs” so they are familiar with how things will proceed.  Each dry run is timed. The terrorists want to complete the entire attack in less than 20 minutes.

       4. Attack site 
At the time of attack, the target has somewhere between two to five seconds to recognize the attack and respond. The time starts just prior to your entry into the “kill zone.” It starts with the terrorists “identifying” you to the others (pointing at you or radioing to others that you are present). Once this process begins, you have very little time to react and most people react by playing the role of a “victim” (stunned and unable to react). 

       5. Escape and exploitation 
At the close of the attack, the terrorists escape via the planned routes. Once safely away, they are free to exploit the situation by claiming their “great success” or by demanding ransom in kidnapping situations. 

Soft targets 
It should be noted that terrorists are switching their tactics. With the embassies and military targets employing tighter security measures, the terrorists are switching to “soft targets” or those targets with few security measures, such as restaurants, nightclubs, hotels, and residential compounds. Specific groups of people are being targeted more now too groups such as humanitarian aid workers and missionaries. 

Defeating the attack 
Victims have little chance of stopping the attack once it has begun, so prevention is the key! The best way to defeat the terrorist is to deny any one of the five phases of an attack. Have a plan and be extremely unpredictable! 

To accomplish this, one must use aggressive security planning and tactics. 
  1. Find the terrorists before the attack, when they are most vulnerable, during the surveillance or “target study” time. 

  2. Always be on the look out for the pre-­attack deployment of the suspects. 

  3. Vary your routes and routines. This is an absolute must! 

  4. Conduct surveys of routes you take on a regular basis for possible target spots. 

  5. Be alert when driving and approaching choke points (attack sites). Be alert for pre­-attack indicators: 
    ● Look for abnormal activity 
    ● Look for people in disguise 
    ● Look for someone identifying you to others 

  6. Destinations ­ Survey your destination upon arrival. 
    ● Look for the unusual, anything that appears out of place. 
    ● Look for people who “do not fit” the surroundings or the occasion
    ● Look for people in disguise (wearing a long coat in warm weather) 

  7. Situational awareness is paramount! Be diligent in the awareness of your surroundings. 

  8. If attacked: 
    ● Be prepared to employ the evasive maneuvers you plan ahead of time. 
    ● Use passive resistance, such as hugging a telephone pole or laying “spread eagle” on the     ground and making your body stiff 
    ● Act quickly and do not hesitate! 
Guidelines if kidnapped by terrorists
NGO workers get abducted for a variety of reasons, such as grievances over the organization’s programs, politics, terrorism, ransom, and sometimes for a combination of these reasons. Sometimes the motives will change. For example, hostage situations may start out as politically motivated, but during the course of the situation, it may turn into a ransom kidnapping. Regardless of the abduction cause, most hostages stand a good chance of surviving the ordeal if they follow some simple rules. 

Initial response procedures 
In the event that an EMM worker is abducted, the team leader will: 
  1. Immediately notify the local authorities, the appropriate embassy, local church leaders, and the supervisory EMM persons (regional representative, strategic coach) or the operations director and Human Resources director, if the others aren’t available. A crisis management team and a field crisis team will then be formed. 
       2. Contact the immediate family of the hostage(s) on the field. Contact must be
       made in person if at all possible. During contact with the family:
  • Advise them a member of their family has been taken hostage. 
  • Advise them their family member is safe and unharmed (if known). 
  • Advise them EM is doing everything possible to secure the release of their loved one.

    3. Arrange for someone to make daily contact with the family to provide them with updates and support. If the family is in any danger, arrange for them to be moved to a safe place. Usually family members will be relocated to their home country for adequate care and support.

    4. Establish a 24­-hour communication watch at the local EMM office (if there is one).

    5. Choose one local person to act as a mediator in the event the hostage taker(s) calls the office. Choose someone known as a good conversationalist and fluent in the local languages. In some instances this may require having more than one person available because of multiple languages in the area and the time involved. If one of these persons is contacted by the hostage taker(s): 
  • Advise the caller that you are manning the phones and that you have no authority to make any offers. 
  • Also advise the caller that you are trying to contact the person who has authority, but have not yet been able to do so as yet. Or, tell the caller you are in contact with the person of authority and can relay messages. In other words, STALL for time. 
  • Be sympathetic with the hostage taker(s), but do not make them feel they did the right thing. 
  • Listen carefully to everything the hostage taker(s) has to say. If possible, record the conversation. 
  • Determine: 
    • Who is being held hostage. 
    • Why they are being held
    • What the hostage taker(s) are demanding
    • The health and safety of the hostage(s) -- ask to speak with them
    • If you are allowed to speak with them, tell them EMM will do everything possible to help them. Do NOT say anything you do not want the hostage takers to know because they will be listening in on the conversation. 
    • Suggest the release of all hostages as a humanitarian offer. 
    • Ask for the release of any women and children. 
6. Choose one person who will be cooperating with the crisis management team’s instructions to deal with the media.

Hostage survival 
Knowledge is one of the key factors in surviving a hostage situation. Former hostages have articulated this fact, stating that the lack of knowledge concerning their future and what is being done to secure their release was paramount during captivity. It is therefore important that all EMM personnel be familiar with this section in the event they are ever taken hostage or held in captivity. 

Although each hostage situation is different, some basic similarities exist. Similarities to keep in mind: 
  • Expect to be blindfolded. 
  • Expect to be drugged. This is usually done to keep you quiet and may be to your benefit during the initial phase of the abduction. 
  • Expect a long ordeal. Hostage situations are either short in duration or very long, lasting weeks or months, and sometimes a year or more. 
  • Know that the two most dangerous times of a hostage situation are those during the initial abduction and those at the time of release, especially if it is a release involving a rescue. 
There are four basic phases to each hostage situation and each phase requires the abducted person to follow certain do’s and don’ts: 
  1. Capture phase: The capture phase is that time in which the individual(s) are initially abducted. 
        ● Try to keep calm. 
        ● Obey orders. 
        ● Do NOT speak unless spoken to. 
        ● Do NOT whisper to colleagues. 
        ● Do NOT offer suggestions. 
        ● Do NOT argue. 
        ● Do NOT make any sudden moves. Ask first. 
        ● Do NOT be humorous. 
        ● Try not to give up any personal identification. 
        ● Try not to allow the covering of your head. This dehumanizes you and makes it easier for the captors to dispose of you at will. 
        ● The first hour is the most dangerous. Do your utmost to maintain your composure. 

  2. Transport and/or consolidation phase: The time during which the hostage is transported
    to a place of confinement. 
       ● Be patient. 
       ● Try to rest. You will need it. 
       ● Be polite to your captors. Treat them with respect. 
       ● Develop a rapport with your captors. This helps remind them of your humanity and makes it a little more difficult to randomly dispose of you. 
       ● Listen well. Do not argue. 

  3. Confinement phase. This is the time held in seclusion. 
       ● Keep physically active. Exercise. 
       ● Keep mentally active. Read, write or play mental games. 
       ● Get appropriate amounts of sleep. 
       ● Do not reject food. Keep up your strength. 
       ● Keep track of time. 
       ● Do not despair. A lot of people will be working on your release. 

  4. Termination or release phase: This is the time a rescue is attempted or the hostage takers give up on their efforts. 
    ● If the release is negotiated, follow all commands to the letter. 
    ● If the release comes as a result of a rescue attempt, follow the guidelines in this section. 
Building rapport
As previously stated, it is important to develop a rapport with your captors. It is much more difficult to kill someone you “know,” than it is someone you don’t know or someone who has been dehumanized by total seclusion or simulated seclusion effected by covering the captive’s head with a cloth bag. 
  1. Converse with your captors as often as possible. 
    • Talk about your family, especially your mother. 
    • Insist on your impartiality as a humanitarian worker and explain your organization’s mandate. 
    • Talk with your captors about your human needs, such as hunger, thirst, and the need to relieve yourself. 
    • Don’t beg or plead with your captors. 
    • Don’t discuss politics or religion with your captors. 
    • Don’t ask their names or anything that would positively identify them. 
    • Don’t give away your personal belongings, like your watch, glasses, or a ring unless the item is demanded. 
    • Always face your captors.   
    • Try to memorize facial features without being obvious. 
    • Listen for names in their conversations. Commit them to memory. 
    • Try to learn something peculiar to each captor, such as a scar, a nervous habit, etc. 
2. Be aware of the “Stockholm Syndrome,” a situation where captives empathize with their captors and their interpretation of the hostage incident. Patty Hearst suffered from the Stockholm Syndrome, even to the point where she took up arms and sided with her captors. Keep your identity intact. 

3. Physical and mental health: Maintaining your physical and mental health is extremely important during a hostage situation. You may need it to escape should the opportunity present itself or during the rescue attempt.
  • Keep track of time and days. 
  • Keep a daily routine. Try to structure your life in some way. 
  • Practice physical exercises, even if it’s just isometrics. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids. It is common to become dehydrated in hostage situations. 
  • Stay well groomed and as clean as possible. 
  • Think positive. Focus on pleasant memories, such as your family. 
  • Don’t lose faith in your eventual release. Your captors may inform you of false release dates just to dishearten you. 
  • Remember that you may be subjected to humiliating and terrifying experiences, such as mock executions, which result in the inability to control your bladder or your bowels. This is normal and others have suffered similar degradation. It’s okay. 
4. Communicating and negotiating: THIS IS NOT YOUR JOB! Let the experts deal with it. The objective of negotiating is to stall for time. Time wears down the captors and usually results in a happy ending. 
  • Be prepared to speak on the telephone or radio. Say only what you are told to say, unless you have a prearranged code word that works into the conversation. Don’t force it. 
  • If you are captured in a group, choose a spokesperson. 
  • Avoid being drawn into the negotiating process. 
  • If it is impossible to stay out of the negotiating process, be extremely careful to explain everything in detail with accuracy. 
  • If you are presented to a member of the press, keep in mind that they are not there to affect a rescue. They are there for a headline story. 
5. Escape: Making a decision to escape is entirely up to you, but remember, it is extremely dangerous. 
  • Escape is a primary consideration if you are convinced your captors plan to kill you. 
  • Remember that you may be endangering other captors if you escape, regardless of your success. 
  • Weigh the odds: 
    •  Count the number of captors and their weapons. 
    • Consider the location of your room in the building. 
    • Consider the location of the building, if known. 
    • Try to determine if captors are outside as well as inside. 
    • What will you do if you make it out of the building? 
    • Consider the weather. 
    • Are you familiar with outdoor survival? 
    • Are you prepared mentally and physically? 
    • Are you willing to accept the consequences of failure or recapture?  
  • Think positively. Don’t give up easily. 
6. Rescue: Remember this is one of the most dangerous of situations. Police consider the preservation of life in hostage situations as their primary objective. Rescue is a last resort chosen only when the situation deteriorates to the point where lives will be lost if it is not attempted. 
  • When an assault occurs, there will probably be a series of blinding and deafening explosions to stun the captors. More than likely, tear gas will be employed and there will be a tremendous amount of confusion. If you are mentally prepared for this, you stand better chance of survival. 
  • Before the assault begins, make a plan. Find the best hiding spot in the room, preferably one that is behind a protective object that will offer concealment and cover from shrapnel and bullets. 
  • As the assault begins, get down immediately. 
  • Immediately obey any orders given by the assault forces.
  • Do NOT pick up any weapons discarded by your captors. You will be shot! 
  • Identify yourself to authorities as someone who poses no threat, put your hands on your head or in the air. 
  • Do everything possible to avoid changing your clothes with the clothes of your captors.