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.