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TWIN TEMBLORS: THE LANDERS AND BIG BEAR QUAKES : Don't Panic, but Do Be Prepared for When the Next One Hits : Emergency: Orange County safety officials urge residents to assemble and check supply kits for their home and car.


ORANGE — Stay calm. But be prepared. Another quake may be on the way.

That was the message on Sunday from the Orange County Fire Department.

"We're telling people to stay calm and to talk to their children and calmly tell them that there may be another earthquake," said department spokeswoman Maria Sabol. "It's important that people stay calm because when they get excited and panic, that's when accidents happen."

Sabol and other safety officials in Orange County urged residents to check their earthquake-preparedness kits in their cars and in their homes. Residents not having such emergency supplies were urged to get them.

"It's important that people be prepared," Sabol said. "And we're reminding people not to call the 911 emergency number unless they have a real emergency." Other officials urged people to stay off the telephones in general following an earthquake so as not to tie up the lines.

Here are tips from the County Fire Department and other safety officials about earthquake preparedness:

* Have an emergency kit for your home and your cars.

* In your home kit, have containers of water (two quarts for each person in the household), first-aid supplies, candles, matches, flashlights, a pocket radio, extra batteries, canned food, can opener, household chlorine bleach (for purifying water), pocket knife, a small barbecue grill and Sterno.

* In your car kit, have at least two quarts of water, a flashlight, emergency canned food, jumper cables, first-aid supplies, tools (such as a screwdriver and a crowbar), a blanket, pocket radio and extra batteries.

* If water supplies become blocked or if you suspect your water is contaminated, boil it five minutes before drinking it. If unable to boil water, four drops of liquid (but not granulated) chlorine bleach should be added to each quart of water.

* If you smell natural gas following an earthquake, calmly evacuate your residence and turn off the main gas valve to the house. (Adults in each household should know the location of the gas valve and how to turn it off.)

* In your home or office, stay away from windows and tall furniture when an earthquake strikes. Get under a sturdy table or desk or stand in a doorway.

* If in your car when an earthquake begins, slowly pull to the side of the road. Do not stop abruptly or swerve into another lane. Do not park under a bridge or under trees or signs. Stay in your car.

* If inside when a quake begins, do not run outside. More earthquake-related injuries occur outdoors than inside buildings. If outside, stay away from trees and poles and any objects that may break loose and fly. Crouch down and calmly wait until the shaking ends.

The Orange County Fire Department on Sunday repeatedly stressed the virtues of staying calm during an earthquake. Sabol said it is especially important for parents to act calmly and know what to do.

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