As a statutory body the ODPEM operates out of the Office of the Prime Minister with a Board of Management overseeing its activities.
The ODPEM has the unique role of being the only government agency to provide disaster management functions in Jamaica. Its operations are designed towards:
- Developing and implementing policies and programmes for the purpose of achieving and maintaining an appropriate state of national preparedness for natural disasters and other emergency events.
- To encourage and support disaster preparedness and mitigation measures in all parishes in association with Local Government authorities, community based organizations and private and voluntary agencies.
- Providing early warning, emergency response, relief and recovery operations in emergency situations.
- Advocating and supporting risk reduction measures.
- Providing training in all areas of disaster management.
- Promoting a greater national awareness for disaster management issues through public education and awareness.
- Conducting hazard identification and risk assessments.
- Conducting research in social behaviour in relation to disaster mitigation an response .
- Establishing and maintaining mutual assistance and co-operation agreements among partner agencies, private sector and international donor organizations.