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Cost reduction and lost mitigation measures can be vital to speedy recovery of companies that suffer flood losses, Munich Reinsurance Co. flood expert Thomas Loster says.

According to Mr. Loster, companies should:

Shut down running processes and remove flammable liquids from open tanks.

Turn off the electricity if there is a chance of short circuits.

Close all pipes carrying flam-mable liquids to prevent large amounts of liquid or gas from escaping damaged pipes; protect all exposed pipes.

Make sure tanks, whether above ground or below, are anchored and cannot be carried away; fill empty tanks with water or other suitable liquid; extend tank ventilation pipes until they are above the maximum water level expected.

Tie down mobile containers of combustible liquids.

Move vital machinery, supplies and reports to a higher position that on the strength of experience can be regarded safe; grease the sensitive surfaces of large machines that cannot be moved.

Check the brakes on mobile cranes and bridges and fasten them in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions for down times.

Secure all objects on construction sites that can be carried away by flood water. Move stored materials to a place with a roof; use sandbags to barricade delicate construction equipment left in the open so that it cannot be damaged by any floating debris.

The potential for flood loss throughout Europe is growing, says Mr. Loster.

Munich Re estimates total losses could reach 3 billion deutsche marks ($1.7 billion) in both Poland and the Czech Republic.