Hostage Situation Guidelines

A hostage situation is said to exist when a person(s) is held or confined against his or her will by one or more individuals. This can occur with or without force or the threat of force and with or without a weapon. Usually, certain demands are made in return for the release of the hostage(s). Hostage takers can be terrorists, fleeing felons, emotionally disturbed persons and past or present disgruntled employees. It should be noted that The Graduate Center's Security & Public Safety personnel are unarmed and will require the assistance of the NYPD in all hostage situations.

If you are a witness to a hostage situation:

  1. Notify Security & Public Safety at x7777 immediately and be prepared to tell the officer the following:
    • location of the incident
    • description of the hostage taker(s)
    • type(s) of weapons used (handgun, shotgun, knife, explosive, etc.)
    • number of hostages
    • if anyone has been injured
  2. Alert others in the immediate are of the situation.
  3. Evacuate from the area.
  4. If you are unable to evacuate safely, lock and close your door until notified by NYPD that it is safe to leave.

If you are taken hostage:

  1. Remain calm, be patient and avoid drastic action.
  2. Follow the hostage taker's instructions. Do not speak unless spoken to. Avoid arguments.
  3. Stay alert and be observant. You may be released or escape. The personal safety of others may depend on your memory.
  4. Be prepared to answer the police on the telephone.