Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

Dealing with a Hostage Situation e-Course


One of the most stressful experiences a worker can be subjected to is being held against his or her will. Research has shown, however, that preparing for “the worst” – by having a basic understanding of what may happen and how it may affect you – can reduce the impact of such an event.

Although a hostage situation is unlikely, the possibility cannot be discounted and the impact to the individual and company is high. The management team still needs to understand what to do in the case of such an incident. This course provides management at any facility, store or branch, with the knowledge and practical skills to deal with a short-term hostage event. The course will look at the possible background to such an event, the psychological pressures on all concerned, the key requirement and skills of rapport building, and the resolution of such an incident.

Video clips are included to illustrate key concepts, while quizzes throughout help to measure and encourage learning.

This course deals with issues a manager will face when confronted with a short-term hostage taking inside their facility. It will build on the basic communication skills already covered in the prerequisite courses, Dealing with Difficult or Hostile Customers and Dealing with Robbery.

Topics include:

  • Mental preparation
  • Assessment and identification
  • Psychological pressures
  • Rapport building
  • Communication and dealing with external authorities
  • Post-event issues

Upon completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Recognize the psychological aspects of a short-term hostage situation, as well as staff, customer and robber reactions to stress
  • Know the roles and responsibilities of management
  • Know post-event best practices
  • Understand the use of rapport building techniques
  • Control your psychological response to an incident

Average time to complete this course is approximately 1 hour.

Target Audience

This course is recommended for managers, supervisors and workers who may encounter or be involved in a short-term hostage event such as when a robbery goes wrong and the perpetrators remain inside the target facility.


Dealing with Difficult or Hostile Customers and Dealing with Robbery.

Delivery Method

This course is delivered as an on-line e-learning course. All you need is a computer, access to the Internet - and you are ready to go! This e-learning course is designed to help you learn at your own pace and in your own environment at your own convenience.

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