Have a question?

What is the extent of the authority that is vested in the ODPM?

The ODPM, established by Cabinet in 2005, is responsible for leading the national effort in protecting public health and safety; restoring essential government services and providing emergency relief to those affected severely by hazards. The agency is the principal player in leading the nation’s effort in preparing for, responding to and recovering from disasters. By its very mandate the ODPM is committed to formulating an all-hazard approach to emergency/risk management. This all- hazard approach encompasses a comprehensive framework that includes mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

The ODPM is also responsible for mobilizing all the key players, such as the Protective Services, all Government Ministries and Agencies, Non-Governmental Organisations, Community and Faith- Based Organisations, and resources to bring about the best possible approach to reducing the loss of life and damage to property resources. Additionally, it is also one of three sub-regional focal points in the Caribbean region. The four sub-regional focal points are Trinidad, Barbados, Antigua and Jamaica and each is responsible for territories which are geographically close to them.

Why is the ODPM closely affiliated with the military armed forces?

After the establishment of the ODPM in 2005, the Prime Minister mandated that the 1st Engineer Battalion of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force be established to assist in disaster relief and to support the efforts of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM).

Why are military personnel based within ODPM?

The military personnel placed at the ODPM have specific skills and training in logistics, relief coordination and telecommunications that are useful to the effective operations of the organization.

Is the ODPM an Independent Agency?

No. The ODPM is a division of the Ministry of National Security and reports to the National Security Council and the Inter Ministerial Committee for Disaster Risk Management.

In the case of an emergency will I be able to have 24-hour access to the ODPM?

Yes. There are military personnel at our Call Centre and Radio Room on a 24/7 basis to ensure that communication with the public is always maintained.

Will the ODPM be seen in the community when a disaster occurs?

Persons from the Disaster Management Units which reside under the Ministry of Local Government as well as other first responder agencies such as the Trinidad and Tobago Police Services and the Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service will primarily be seen in the community. However, ODPM officials may be seen in the community if the situation requires better reconnaissance for the management and coordination of these first responder agencies by the ODPM.

What is the NEOC?

It is the centralized centre which treats with coordination and management of all emergency/disaster response and relief operations. It is occupied/staffed by Emergency Support Functions (ESF’s) who represent the relevant and participating Ministries and Government Agencies. The NEOC can be activated at a partial level or full time.

Who are the First Responders in the event of a hazard?

Some first responders include: The Municipal Corporations, Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS), Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service (TTFS), Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force (TTDF), Special Anti-Crime Unit of Trinidad and Tobago (SAUTT), Global Medical Response Trinidad and Tobago (GMRTT).

What are the requirements for a structure to be considered a shelter?

For a structure to be considered a shelter it must meet the following standards:

  1. It must adhere strictly to building codes.
  2. The structure should be capable of being retrofitted, if necessary.
  3. There should be on-going maintenance of the facility.
  4. The potential for security problems should be minimal.
Who can I contact to ascertain the nearest shelter to my home?

You can contact the Disaster Management Unit of the Regional, City or Borough Corporation within which you live or the ODPM. This information is also published in the press and available on the website.

Are pets allowed in a shelter?

No. Animals are not allowed inside emergency shelters due to health regulations.

If not, where can they be kept in the event of a hazard that will ensure their safety?

There are two (2) possible options that can be considered:

  1. Accommodation can be made for pets just outside the shelter i.e. the use of portable cages by owners.
  2. Let pets loose so that they will be able to seek safer areas on their own.
In the event that there is damage to property will the ODPM provide assistance to replace the items that have been lost?

In such a case, specific relief items will be provided by the Municipal Corporations and/or the Ministry of Social Development. If the resources of these two agencies are exhausted, the ODPM may then provide the necessary assistance.

What is the procedure that I will have to undertake in order to get compensation for damaged items due to a hazard?

You should first contact the Disaster Management Unit at your Municipal Corporation who will then visit your home to do reconnaissance. They will then inform you as to the required procedure.

Who is eligible for receiving the social grants for loss of items in the event of a disaster?

The Ministry of Social Development will assess the extent of damage to the home or property and determine eligibility for financial assistance.

Since the ODPM is not a First Responder Agency, when will it be appropriate to contact the ODPM in the event of an emergency?

The established arrangement is persons should contact the First Responder Agencies (e.g., Fire Services, Health Services, and Municipal Corporations, depending on the situation) who will then contact the ODPM.

However, in cases where the First Responder Agencies are not accessible or they are not able to handle the situation reported, the ODPM can be contacted directly by the public.

The ODPM will coordinate with the relevant agencies to ensure that assistance is provided.

Does the ODPM ever provide external assistance in times of a disaster?

The ODPM is mandated to provide assistance to Grenada, Guyana and Suriname in times of a disaster, provided that the country’s internal supplies have been exhausted.

The ODPM’s provision of external assistance was also made evident with Haiti’s earthquake devastation.

The ODPM partnered with NGOs, Faith-Based Organizations, the T&T Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Local Government Corporations for the relief effort in terms of cash, goods and services.

The cash collected is being forwarded to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) based in Barbados.

Donated goods are being sent to Jamaica and then channelled to Haiti through the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU).

What is the role of the ODPM to the average community?

The ODPM works hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs to build community resilience to hazards and increase the community’s capacity to respond and recover from hazardous events.

The ODPM achieves this through education, awareness and training programmes within the community.

If the ODPM is unable to deal with a hazard on a national level, will the regional or international emergency organizations step in to provide assistance?

Yes. The first agency to do so will be CDEMA. CDEMA’s main function is to make an immediate and coordinated response to any disastrous event affecting any participating state, once the state requests such assistance.

The ODPM has also been provided with assistance from the US Army South in the area of training and enhancements of disaster risk reduction capabilities. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an agency of the US government tasked with Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery planning, has also facilitated the ODPM with the enhancement of disaster risk reduction capabilities.

Dry Season SMS Test
  1. When and what is the dry season?
    The dry season occurs during January to May and is symbolised by a tropical maritime climate which is characterized by moderate to strong low level winds, warm days and cool nights, with rainfall mostly in the form of showers due to daytime convection.
  2. Who declares the start of the dry season?
    As the start of the dry season does not occur on a fixed date every year, an official declaration of the season’s commencement is issued by Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service when climatic patterns and changes in features are indicative of the region having transitioned to a drier state.
  3. When can I expect the SMS alert?
    The SMS alert is issued by the two telecommunication service providers (Digicel and Bmobile). The timing of the SMS is determined by the company and not the ODPM. Persons in various areas can receive the SMS alert at different times, thus it is important for citizens to take the time to indicate when and where they received the alert.
  4. What is the survey for?
    The ODPM is collecting data to assess who received the SMS Alert, when it was received and where persons were located when it was received. This data will be used for the improvement of the National Emergency Mass Notification System. The results will allow us to assess the rate at which the message was disseminated across the country and within communities.
  5. If I have an account with both telecommunication service providers, do I need to complete the survey twice?
    Yes, it is important to complete the survey on both occasions, as there may be a time difference worth assessing in the future.
  6. Who will see receive my survey responses?
    The ODPM will securely store all survey responses, and this information will not be shared with 3rd parties.
Skip to content