Regarding a hypothetical wide reaching SHTF event,

My very first action would be to deeply asses the situation as best I can, because further decisions will hinge greatly on that assessment.

This involves verifying the extent of the situation and other things that may have occurred as a result.

One way will be to turn on a portable AM/FM/Shortwave radio and listen. Depending on the event or potential grid-down situation, some stations may be on generator and broadcasting news & information about the situation.

Here’s what I did for preparedness in this regard…

 
Years ago I bought the following battery operated portable shortwave radio. It’s there at home when I need it (it’s a fun hobby too). I also take it with me on EVERY trip that I go on (vacation, etc..) for just in case.

Sony ICF-SW7600GR AM/FM/Shortwave Receiver

I also bought the following external clip-on antenna:
Sangean ANT-60 Short Wave Antenna

(UPDATE) The radio linked above is apparently no longer manufactured (you can still buy one Used – as you can see in the link). Too bad because it was THE best in its class.

That said the following equivalent is what I would purchase today. It looks like a great portable shortwave radio that’s highly reviewed.

Tecsun PL880 Portable AM/FM/Shortwave Radio with SSB

 
Where do you tune the radio for information?

You might simply tune / scan the individual bands for anyone who may be broadcasting in order to gather some information about what’s going on.

If you have a good shortwave radio like the one listed above, you will also be able to pick up many HAM radio bands where you might possibly hear other HAM radio operators around the country and world who may be transmitting with battery power or alternative energy sources.

The point is, if you suddenly find yourself in a very deep SHTF situation such as ‘grid-down’ or other hypothetical high impact SHTF events, it is often best to first gather intelligence on what has actually happened, the extent of which, and the probable ramifications – before you make any other big decisions…

More: Shortwave Radio Bands