Communication is a vital part of our infrastructure that we seldom appreciate until it fails. Without it we lose connection with our loved ones and fall into the dark when making important decisions.
Three levels of communication need to be maintained to provide proper levels of information necessary for making wise decisions.

Local – Secure methods of communicating with your immediate group on or very near your base of operations is vital to both safety and security. The desired range is within one half mile and is used to relay information among your group members. FRS and MURS radios are well suited for this but keep in mind that these frequencies are easily monitored by others. Keep all communications discrete and brief. Kight radio offers the TONFA UV-985 dual band amateur hand-held radio for $89 that fills both local and intermediate comm needs. At the 2W low power setting this radio is perfect for short range communicating.

Intermediate – Keeping alert to activity in your community is important. CB radios are still in use and many will get back on the air to chat with their neighbors after the TV's and cellular text fail. I would not recommend transmitting on these heavily monitored channels but I would certainly listen for all the updates possible. CB radio might provide the first alert to any organized assistance or locations to avoid due to social disorder.
A good scanner can keep you informed of local events and would be a wise investment.
For personal two way communication required up to twenty miles, a UHF/VHF amateur radio with a good antenna can reliably reach another mobile radio or a hand-held radio. Keep in mind that these are “line of sight” communications and physical obstructions limit transmissions.

Long Range – Knowing what is going on in the rest of the world is always important as well as providing a source of entertainment from music and news broadcast from distant countries. Shortwave radios are not expensive but make sure the one you purchase will actually pull in the signals you need. Shortwave listening is most active at night when propagation is more favorable to radio reception. Don't purchase a radio and pack it away for use later. Use it and learn how to run a 'long wire' antenna to improve reception.
Amateur radio in the HF bands will allow you two way voice connection over most of the world. It's limits are that atmospheric propagation is never stable and changes radically between night and day. With a good antenna and 100W of power, two way voice transmissions are possible over very long distances. To understand its use a basic understanding of radio propagation is necessary. Radio waves travel through our atmosphere by two means: Ground wave (straight path from antenna to antenna); and Skywave (radio waves from the transmitter are bounced off the ionosphere and received as they return to earth.
Ground wave signals are limited by physical obstructions, the curvature of the earth, and attenuation of radio signals at lower altitudes. The common limits of ground-wave signals is about 30 to 50 miles, depending a lot on the height of the transmitting antenna.
Sky wave signals depend on the distance of the ionosphere from the earth at the time of transmission. The atmosphere draws closer at night and expands during the day as a result of solar radiation. When the ionosphere is too far away, radio signals reflect at an angle too shallow to return to earth.
The difference between the limits of ground-wave transmission and sky-wave signal return is called the skip zone. The skip zone is anywhere between 30 and 300 miles. This is a vital area to maintain communications which lends importance to another HF propagation means called NVIS.

NVIS (Near Vertical Incidence Skywave) is a propagation plan that runs opposite to conventional theory. To use the Sky wave for long distance communications an antenna needs strong lateral emission that will hit the ionosphere at a shallow angle and bounce back to earth. With NVIS the antenna is designed to radiate nearly vertical with as little radial emission as possible. The signal reflects off the ionosphere and covers a circular area nearly 600 miles wide. NVIS is perfect for transmitting from a valley or otherwise obstructed location. The best frequencies are often the noisiest for other means of radio communication and the antenna design is intentionally low to the ground and easy to construct. Because of the low horizontal emissions of NVIS communication it is difficult to locate the transmitter by traditional directional finding (DF) equipment. NVIS is a reliable and stable communication format with less fade and drift than traditional sky-wave methods.