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How long before basic supplies return?

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Post SHTF, how long do you think it would take for the availability of basic supplies to start reappearing? If you already live in a rural area where there are few stores now, when could you expect them to begin getting the basics? Candles, Flower, Sugar Toilet paper, Dog food, Batteries, ect….ect… you name it.

Sorry I should have specified! I was thinking a catastrophic economic collapse type scenario. We are and have always been prepared, just a way of life out here. But at some point I think all of us will start needing basics. (During a long term situation) Just a food for thought conversation is all I’m attempting.
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Farms cant produce if there is no money to invest in planting crops, transportation cant roll of there is no fuel to power the trains and busses. There is no power if the power company cant get fuel to the generating station. Production cant happen if companies cant buy raw materials or get raw materials to their door. A total economic collapse can and will impact all of these things.
As far as the electic grid, you are absolutely right. If it gets knocked down, it will take at least weeks to months to get it back on line and that is if the integrity of the grid has not been too messed up.

Electrical failure:
I can outline a scenerio that would or could knock out the grid for a prolonged period of time.
First an event knocks out a major substation. There is still power being generated but it is being pumped into a broken system. This power has to go somewhere. As the system backfeeds trying to find someplace to go, it trips smaller substations to protect the transformers and switchgear. Now there is more unused power on the grid. As this cascades back to the generating stations the stations themselves go off line due to backfeed. When a generating station goes off line they go to emergency power dump. While the power generating station absorbs the electical power, the power generated by the boilers blow through the emergency vents. The boilers or the nuclear reactors shut down so they no longer produce power to the generators. Once this happens the generating station is dead in the water. The entire station has to be completely shut down and return to a dead standstill and all boilers have to return to room temp.
Once this happens you have to go out and fix the transmission equipment because the power has to be able to go somewhere if you bring the generating station on line. While that is being done the boilers are restarted but it can be up to 4 or 5 days before they are up to temp depending on size and fuel source. Nuke plants could take longer. Then, once you have a network reestablished and the plants are coming back on line you have to re-energize the system. The more rural you are, the longer it will take to get power to you. Areas of highest demand will get turned on first but even then it may take many days to fully restore power to them as small issues pop up while switching areas back on line. All in all you can be looking at 1-3 weeks to get power back. I know during the NYC power outage of 2003 that lasted a couple days there were huge problems and that was a small event by power distribution standards.
My father worked for independent System Operators of New York (ISO NY) and this is the exact scenerio they have been training for and trying to plan for for many years now. It is of HUGE concern with them as the different utilities will not make the capital expenditures needed to upgrade the system to prevent this. As of right now their basic philosophy is it is not a matter of if it will happen it is a matter of when. Basically the way the network is interconnected you could see power out from the carolinas to Maine and from the coast to as far in as Ohio. The only thing that can prevent it is Billions of $ of investment on the overall grid and right now that is NOT happening.
 

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The best way to answer that would be to look local. Things to return quickly would be what you see in farmers markets, craft fairs, and flea markets.
Anything you get from the big box stores or imports wont be around for a long time.
 
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