Health Sciences & Social Work

EM Masthead: Current Event Alert

Washington Illinois Economic Recovery Project


Faculty Led Community Outreach Project in Spring 2014 to Assist Washington

On November 17, 2013, the Tazewell County city of Washington was struck with an EF-4 tornado. This disaster was especially tragic in Washington, with three fatalities, numerous injuries, and over 1,000 residential structures severely damaged. In March 2014, Washington is entering into its fourth month of disaster recovery. Once the winter weather ends, the rebuilding will start in earnest. 

Prof. Jack Rozdilsky is leading the EM 461 Business and Industry in Emergency Management course on a project where factors that may influence Washington's long-term economic recovery will be explored. The project is taking place during the Spring Semester 2014 with students working in the field during March and April 2014. 

Selected local businesses will be visited in Washington in an attempt to gauge both opportunities and threats as related to business continuity in the post-tornado disaster environment.

The initial problem to be explored is related to what can be described as "not seeing what is happening to the customer base, changing communities following disaster." In Washington, most businesses did not suffer physical damages while the nearby residential portions of the city were completely destroyed.  One can surmise, that the widespread destruction of residences in the city would have some sort of impact on small businesses.  However, what is that impact?  How are small businesses in Washington doing approximately five months out from the disaster?

This faculty/student project will attempt to explore how small businesses in Washington are surviving or not. The gathering of such information may be of use to assist in Washington's long-term recovery efforts.  

The project is part of the faculty led community outreach projects from the Emergency Management Program at Western Illinois University.