Some emergencies in the State of Rhode Island require a well-organized and coordinated response in order to: lessen or eliminate a threat or hazard, save lives, protect property, stabilize a community, and support short-term recovery. The responsibility of coordinating a statewide response effort is one major function of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA).

In order to support response efforts, RIEMA carries out several tasks including: incident monitoring; public emergency communication; information collection and dissemination; and coordination of local, state, and federal personnel, equipment and resources. This centralized coordination takes place at the State Emergency Operation Center.

RIEMA organizes an operational response at the state level using the State Emergency Operation Plan, Emergency Support Functions, and following the principles of the National Incident Management System and the National Response Framework. In partnership with state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and local municipalities, RIEMA works to protect and preserve the community and reduce the affect of an event or disaster.