Farmington — With cold temperatures affecting the region, preparing for winter weather is crucial.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest winterizing homes by installing weather stripping, insulation and storm windows. They also recommend checking heating systems, along with having alternative heating sources available.
The American Red Cross recommends keeping supplies on hand at home and in your car.
They advise keeping three days worth of water, amounting to one gallon per person per day.
As for food, they recommend at least a three-day supply of non-perishable, easy to prepare food.
Preparing vehicles for winter weather is also important.
The CDC recommends servicing your vehicle's radiator and maintaining the antifreeze level, while the American Red Cross advises carrying either sand, rock salt or kitty litter to use if your vehicle gets stuck.
So far, there have been no reports of power outages or emergency situations on the Navajo Nation, said Rose Whitehair, director of the tribe's Department of Emergency Management.
She said the tribe's emergency management team is actively monitoring the chapters by receiving updates from Community Health Representatives and personnel from the Navajo Division of Transportation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The team is also working with chapters and Community Health Representatives to distribute bottled water to the elderly and high-risk individuals.
Although there have been no reports of utility outages or muddy conditions preventing travel, Whitehair advises people to be prepared and to check on relatives and neighbors.
"Out of the goodness of our hearts, check on each other," she said.
Last winter, the reservation experienced days of below zero temperatures, causing the ground to freeze deeper than usual.
The frozen ground caused waterlines to freeze and then daytime temperatures thawed the ground, prompting the dirt to shift and break waterlines. That caused leaks, resulting in service being lost to customers and communities.
With that in mind, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is reminding customers to prevent frozen water pipes in their homes by checking pipes for leaks and insulating any exposed piping outside of their homes.
The NTUA also recommends disconnecting and draining water from garden hoses and keeping an indoor temperature of at least 55 degrees to prevent any interior water pipes from freezing.
If a water pipe freezes, NTUA advises thawing it by turning on the faucet and setting it at a slow drip. Also, open cabinet doors near the plumbing area to allow warm air to circulate.
Do not pour hot water directly on the frozen water pipe or faucet. Also do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove or other open flame device to thaw a frozen line.