<p> It&#39;s summer: Time for lazy, hazy, crazy days spent drinking watermelon martinis by the pool, roasting marshmallows over an open fire, napping in a hammock, catching fireflies in a mayonnaise jar and lying on the cool grass looking up at the stars.</p> <p> But from Texas to Maine as well as Hawaii, summer also brings with it the high winds, torrential rains, flooding, storm surges and devastating winds associated with one of the fiercest types of storms &mdash;the <a href="">tropical cyclone</a>, or hurricane.</p> <p> If you live in a low-lying area threatened by a severe hurricane, or if you are ordered by government authorities to evacuate, leave the area and head for higher ground. Many of the people who die in hurricanes ignore or are unable to comply with evacuation orders.</p> <p> But if you&#39;re not in immediate danger, there are precautions you can take before, during and after a storm hits to better protect your family and your property.</p> <p> Here are seven steps you can take to safely ride out the storm.</p> <p> [<a href="">5 Survival Technologies for a Hurricane Disaster Kit]</a></p>

Before the storm hits: Keep a battery-operated radio and flashlight on hand

<p> A battery-operated radio lets you listen for important storm updates and information.</p> <p> &quot;You can get the latest messages that are coming out from your [local energy company],&quot; said Pete Brooks, a spokesman for Duke Energy in North Carolina.</p> <p> Don&#39;t forget the extra batteries for the radio and the flashlight. Consider buying a specially designed emergency radio with extra features, such as a hand crank, solar panels, built-in flashlight or USB port (for recharging cellphones).</p> <p> [<a href="">Disaster and First Aid Smartphone Apps for Emergencies</a>]</p>

Have a back-up plan for people on life-support equipment

<p> You should plan to move a person who depends on life-sustaining medical equipment to a facility with back-up power, such as a local shelter, Brooks said, in case your power goes out.</p> <p> &quot;If a family member relies on oxygen, you should have a portable oxygen supply on hand,&quot; he said. &quot;You should also stock a 30-day supply of medicine to get you through.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">How to Protect Your Identity During a Natural Disaster</a>]</p>

During the storm: Turn off all electronics and appliances

<p> As the storm comes in, turn off and unplug all electric appliances and electronics, including TV sets, VCRs and DVD players, microwave ovens, computers and stereos. Disconnect cables to your TV antenna, satellite dish or cable service.</p> <p> Doing so will reduce the potential for damage or fire from a power surge once the power comes back on, Brooks said.</p> <p> Periods of low voltage, known as &quot;brownouts,&quot; can also damage your devices, and lightning strikes can damage devices that are switched off but still plugged in.</p> <p> You should wait about five to 10 minutes before you turn the appliances and equipment back on after your power is restored.</p> <p> [<a href="">Top 10 Hurricane Research Devices</a>]</p>

If you have to leave, turn off the electricity at the fuse box

<p> &quot;If you&#39;re in a flood-prone area and you have to evacuate, this will prevent the electricity from going throughout your home once the power is restored,&quot; Brooks said.</p> <p> If there&#39;s damage to your house &mdash;if power lines are down and touching trees near your house &mdash;turning off the power at the fuse box will also reduce the risk of fire once the power to your area comes back on.</p> <p> [<a href="">Redesigned Roofs Withstand Tornadoes and Hurricanes</a>]</p>

After the storm passes: Stay away from downed or sagging power lines

<p> People should assume that all power lines, as well as tree limbs that come in contact with those lines, are energized, Brooks said.</p> <p> &quot;If a tree limb is touching an energy line and that line is still energized, and people touch the tree limb, they&#39;re going to get shocked,&quot; he said. &quot;Be sure to keep your children and pets away from them as well.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Smartphone Apps Keep Eye on Hurricanes</a>]</p>

Never attempt to remove downed trees or tree limbs alone

<p> You may not be able to tell whether fallen trees or tree limbs are touching hot power lines.</p> <p> Instead, Brooks said, report the problem to your local energy company or emergency services department, which will come out and remove the debris for you.</p> <p> [<a href="">How to Catch Hurricane Sandy Scammers</a>]</p>

Don&#39;t leave your car if there&#39;s a power line on it

<p> If a power line falls across a car that you&#39;re in, don&#39;t get out of it until help arrives.</p> <p> &quot;But if you have to get out because of a fire or other emergency, you should do your absolute best to jump clear from the car, landing with both feet on the ground,&quot; Brooks said. &quot;Be sure that no part of your body is touching that car or that power line when your feet hit the ground.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Watch the 2012 Hurricane Season in 4.5 Minutes</a>]</p>

7 Tips to Safely Ride Out a Hurricane