Who Has Overall Responsibility for Managing the on-Scene Incident – Truth Revealed!

by Casie
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Are you wondering, “Who has overall responsibility for managing the on-scene incident?” If yes, no more wonder! You have arrived at the right place, and we’ll help you find the answer to this question.

Knowing the answer to this question is essential because it helps ensure that the on-scene incident is managed effectively and efficiently. The person responsible for overseeing and coordinating all activities related to the incident is the on-scene Incident Commander.

As the highest-ranking officer at the scene, the Incident Commander assumes control of all resources, personnel, and equipment.

But don’t worry if this is all new to you. In this article, we’ll comprehensively understand what an on-scene Incident Commander is, their roles and responsibilities, and why they’re such a critical component of the ICS. So, let’s dive in!

Who Has Overall Responsibility for Managing the Scene Incident

The On-Scene Incident Commander Manages the On-Scene Incident, but who exactly holds this critical role? Let’s look at the options regarding; “Who has overall responsibility for managing the on-scene incident”:

  1. The Safety Officer
  2.  The Public Information Officer 
  3. The On-scene Incident Commander (OIC)
  4. Liaison Officer (LO)

The correct answer is C)—the On-scene Incident Commander (OIC).

Explanation – On-scene Incident Commander (OIC)

So, “Who has overall responsibility for managing the on-scene incident”-The On-Scene Incident Commander (OIC) is the correct answer because These individuals have overall responsibility for the incident and must quickly determine the objectives and priorities according to the available resources and agency policies. They set up a command post safely from the emergency and stay there until the situation becomes too dangerous.

Being an incident commander is no easy task, and it requires a calm and level-headed approach to delegate tasks and manage the big picture. In critical situations, first responders often take on this role, which can also be filled by specially trained personnel.

So, when a critical incident happens, who is in charge? It’s the incident commander, the person who has the skills, knowledge, and expertise to manage the situation and keep everyone safe.

We see that OIC has overall responsibility for managing the on-scene incident- in the below section, we’ll discuss the response of the OIC.So, Keep in touch with us!

What Are the Responsibilities of An On-Scene Incident Commander?

When an emergency arises, having a well-trained and competent On-Scene Incident Commander (OSIC) is critical to ensuring an effective and efficient response. The OSIC is responsible for managing all aspects of the incident, from the initial reaction to the resolution, and must make decisions quickly and decisively to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

“Who has overall responsibility for managing the on-scene incident” – it’s OIC. 

Some of the primary responsibilities of an OSIC include the following:

  • Coordination with other responding agencies and personnel to ensure an effective response and resolution of the incident
  • Regular assessment of the situation and implementation of appropriate changes to tactics, resources, or personnel as needed
  • Determination of when it is safe to terminate operations and release resources back into service within their jurisdictions
  • Communication of critical incident information to responding agencies, public officials, and the public as necessary
  • Establishment and maintenance of effective command and control throughout the incident, including delegation of authority as appropriate
  • Ensuring the safety of all personnel involved in the incident, including themselves, responding agencies, and the public
  • Document all actions and decisions made during the incident, including after-action reports and debriefings for responding agencies and personnel.

By fulfilling these responsibilities, the OSIC ensures that the incident is resolved quickly and efficiently, with minimal risk to the public and responders.

What is the Purpose of ICP?

When responding to an emergency, the role of the On-Scene Incident Commander (OIC) is crucial in managing and coordinating the response efforts. However, they cannot do it alone. This is where the Incident Command Post (ICP) comes into play. 

The purpose of an Incident Command Post (ICP) is to serve as the central location for incident management activities.  The ICP is a designated location where the Incident Commander and their staff can coordinate and manage all resources and activities related to an incident.

The ICP allows for a structured approach to incident management and facilitates efficient communication and coordination among all involved parties. It also provides a location for briefings, planning meetings, and logistical support.

Some of the critical functions of an ICP include the following:

  • Serving as a centralized location for incident management activities
  • Providing a location for incident management staff to coordinate and manage all resources and activities related to the incident
  • Facilitating communication and coordination among all involved parties
  • Providing a location for briefings, planning meetings, and logistical support
  • Supporting resource ordering and tracking, as well as accounting and cost tracking

Other Questions Related to On-Scene Incident Commander?

The answer to the question “Who has overall responsibility for managing the scene incident?” is the On-Scene Incident Commander (OIC). However, the OIC is not the only role in managing an incident on scene. There are also other roles, such as the Liaison, Safety Officer, and Public Information Officer, each with specific responsibilities. Identifying who is responsible for each aspect of managing the incident is important to ensure a coordinated and effective response. So, let’s get down to the business: 

What is the Role of the Liaison Officer (LO)?

The Liaison Officer is critical in managing an incident on the scene. As the name suggests, this role involves liaising with other agencies, organizations, and individuals involved in the incident to ensure effective communication and coordination.

The Liaison Officer is a point of contact between the Incident Command Post (ICP) and external organizations. They are responsible for obtaining and providing information and resources and coordinating mutual aid between different agencies.

One of the key responsibilities of the Liaison Officer is to establish a good working relationship 

with external agencies, such as the police, fire department, and medical services. They ensure that all resources are utilized efficiently and effectively and that communication flows smoothly between all parties involved.

The Liaison Officer also plays a crucial role in supporting the Incident Commander. They help to gather and disseminate information, maintain situational awareness, and provide recommendations and advice to the Incident Commander (IP).

What is the Role of a Safety Officer?

The Safety Officer is in a critical position in incident management, responsible for ensuring the safety of all respondents involved in the incident. The Safety Officer works closely with the 

Incident Commander to monitor operations and advise on operational safety, including establishing safety procedures and stopping any unsafe acts. This position reports directly to the Incident Commander and is a command staff member, providing important support to the overall incident management structure.

The role of the Safety Officer is closely related to that of the Incident Commander, who is ultimately responsible for making tactical decisions during an incident. The Incident Commander allocates resources based on agency policy and available resources, with essential communication between the Incident Commander and other officers, such as the Safety Officer. 

Along with other officers like the Liaison and Information Officer, the Safety Officer reports to the Incident Commander, providing important insights and support for successfully managing the incident.

What is the Role of a Public Information Officer (PIO)?

As part of the Incident Command System (ICS), the Public Information Officer (PIO) plays a crucial role in incident management. The PIO is responsible for managing the flow of information to the public and media during an incident. They act as the primary point of contact for media inquiries and coordinate all public information efforts.

The PIO must be skilled in communication and able to convey information, concisely, and on time. They must have a strong understanding of the incident and be able to provide accurate information to the public while avoiding speculation or rumours. The PIO must also be aware of the potential impact that misinformation can have on the public and take steps to prevent its spread.

During an incident, the PIO works closely with the Incident Commander and other members of the Command Staff to ensure that all communications are consistent and aligned with the agency’s messaging. They may also coordinate joint public information efforts with other agencies and organizations.

The PIO’s role is critical in helping the public stay informed and providing necessary instructions or warnings. They may use various forms of communication, including social media, press releases, and public announcements, to reach a wide audience.

In conclusion, the Public Information Officer is an essential incident management team member. They are responsible for managing the flow of information to the public during an incident, ensuring that accurate information is provided on time, and working closely with other members of the Command Staff to coordinate joint public information efforts.


As you know, the incident commander is primarily responsible for managing the scene, and the Fire Line Supervisor (FLS) also plays a crucial role. FLSs need to be good supervisors, able to focus on the big picture while delegating smaller tasks to others. They must also maintain a calm mindset during critical incidents to inspire others.

Managing an incident is a challenging task, and there are many challenges that incident responders face. These can include inadequate information, a lack of coordination, and limited resources. 

For example, if initial information about the incident is insufficient, it can impede the ability to involve various agencies. Communication with motorists approaching the scene can also prevent the emergency response team from being as efficient as possible. In addition, failing to secure towing services in time may leave obstructions on the road.

By having a skilled incident commander and FLS and addressing the challenges that responders face, emergencies can be managed more effectively and safely.

It’s a Wrap – Who Has Overall Responsibility for Managing the Scene Incident

In conclusion, knowing “who is responsible for managing the on-scene incident” is crucial for effective emergency response. As we’ve learned, the incident commander is the first responder to arrive on the scene and has the important task of determining objectives and priorities according to available resources and agency policies. Their ability to manage the incident can make all the difference in how successfully the emergency is handled. 

So, whether you’re an emergency responder or a member of the public, understanding the role of the incident commander can help you appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into emergency response. Remember, every second counts in a crisis, and having a skilled incident commander in charge can make all the difference in saving lives and keeping people safe.

For any other questions, you can comment below, and we will be happy to help you – thanks!

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