Hostile Environment Training: Escape and Evasion

Updated: Oct 14


Hostile Environment Training: Escape and Evasion

Here are so basic instructions on how to avoid getting captured if you manage to escape from kidnappers, terrorists or from a location where things have gone very wrong. We do no encourage people to break the law, but you must understand that in some situations what would be viewed as illegal actions such are breaking and entering into a building or taking supplies are your only option for survival.

Fundamentals of OTR (On The Run)

Part of your emergency plan needs to be what to do if you have to escape from a hostile situation be it urban or rural, be it your local area or somewhere you’re visiting or doing business. Always ensure you have the basic equipment required to navigate and sustain yourself in the environment you’re in, keep it basic, keep it light and keep it concealable.

  • Your goal is survival and to reach a safe area.

  • If you have a cell phone on you consider if those after you can use it to track you. If those after you have access to the phone company’s networks dump the phone completely.

  • Consider your means of leaving the area: on foot, swim, public transport, aircraft, boat, hitch a lift, steal or hijack a vehicle.

  • After the initial escape try to leave the area as quickly as possible and keep a low profile, remember to blend in with your environment.

  • As soon as you can you need to make contact with friends, family, trusted authorities or friendly Embassies.

  • If you cannot leave the area then you’ll have to go to ground and hide, locations can include; in parks or bushes, busy pedestrian areas, public bathrooms, bars and night clubs etc.

  • Consider what CCTV is in the area and if those after you can access it. If your hiding in parks etc. do those after you have thermal imaging equipment?

  • Consider how long you will have to go to ground for and what are your emergency escape routes.

  • Work out where are you running to and try to leave decoys pointing to different locations; book a train ticket with your credit card but never take a train etc.

  • You will need money if you very lucky and have a credit card hidden on your person you can use ATM’s but remember this will show you location. If you are in an area where you’re staying for a while, you could possibly have previously stashed cash with other important documents and equipment in a dead drop for emergencies, your last resort would be to steal money.

  • You will also need clean clothes, if you cannot buy them or get them from a place of charity you would need to steal them.

  • If you need to travel a long distance you will need to find somewhere to wash and stay clean.

  • You will need somewhere to sleep; in urban environments it may make sense to stay away from the usual places homeless people congregate as this would be the first place those looking for you would check.

  • If you do not have money to buy food you could possibly get it from charities, steal it or check the trash cans behind restaurants and sandwich shops.

  • To leave most countries you will need a passport or ID’s, if you have lost yours, you can try to covertly by pass border controls and then make it to the nearest friendly Embassy on the other side. At most borders there may be check points on the roads but go a few hundred meters either side there is usually nothing, maybe a fence. So, if you are using a road get off it a few hundred meters before the border, skirt around the check point and rejoin the road a few hundred yards on the other side. When crossing the border do so quickly, quietly and use all your senses and be alert for any patrols or remote cameras etc.

  • Try to have or get maps, even free tourist guides are better than nothing.

  • Learn to identify north and south without a compass.

  • Always carry and try to conceal an escape compass on your person.

  • Identify and remember prominent objects in the area such as major roads, rivers, mountains, airports and buildings, these will give you reference points when on the move.

  • If you are in a rural area and want to locate people follow rivers, most villages are located around water sources.

Escape and Evasion Equipment

The reason for escape and evasion equipment is to help you escape from captivity and stay alive for a limited amount of time. You should carry a minimum amount of non-descript equipment as discreetly as possible. Expensive, specialist, flashy military equipment will only draw attention to you, it will be taken away by your captors or during a search and could possibly label you as a spy or police etc. This is something you don’t want as it could lead to you being detained, tortured and executed. This list is a guide to what would be useful for you to have on your person, pick the items you think you would be able to get hold of, conceal and relevant to the situation you’re in.

  • Survival blanket: These are usually silver in color and can be used to provide warmth, shelter, collect water and for signaling.

  • Personal water filter: There are many small water filters on the market that are easily carried in a shirt pocket etc.

  • String or thin wire: This has various uses for example construction of shelters, re-closing cut wire fences, trip wires etc.

  • Wire saw: These thin wire saws can be used to cut wood, plastic and soft metals. Always try to buy those made from multiple strands of flexible wire “commando wire saws”. Beware of cheap imitations.

  • Small lock pick set: Bogota pics, diamond/needle file and cuff shims are easy to conceal and inexpensive.

  • Hacksaw blade: The blade should be broken into 2 to 3 inch pieces to make them more concealable, if possible the ends and backs of the blades can be sharpened.

  • Safety pins: Various uses including first aid, mending clothing, building shelters and picking open hand-cuffs.

  • Razor blades: Small and concealable multi-purpose blades.

  • Flint and steel/Matches: Used for fire lighting to keep you warm or cause distractions.

  • Tinder: Cotton wool or lint etc. used to help you light fires.

  • Hairnet and Condoms: Used for carrying water, the condom goes in the hairnet to stop it from splitting.

  • Water purification tabs: For purifying drinking water.

  • Compass: Chose a small and concealable compass.

  • Whistle & Mirror: Can be used for signaling and distractions.

  • Knife: Chose a small concealable knife that won’t be found and confiscated when your captured or that can get you arrested for carrying an illegal weapon. Neck knives are an option as many searchers do not check the neck or chest areas.