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Coronavirus advice for FirstPort Scotland residents

Homeowner Queries

Residents’ advice: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated 26 November 2020

The health and safety of our residents, employees and contractors is always our priority. We are continually monitoring the ‘local protection levels’ in Scotland, and will make decisions on the way we manage your home based on the current government advice and guidance to keep everyone safe.

How is FirstPort responding to this situation?

In line with the residential property management sector, we are having to make some temporary alterations to the way we manage many of the developments in our care. The changes we are making are highlighted below for the different parts of our business.

We apologise for the disruption and any inconvenience this may cause, and we thank your for your understanding during what is an unprecedented, and rapidly developing, situation. As soon as we can revert to normal, in line with Government guidance, we will of course do so.

We have made sure that our customer support teams are able to work remotely and are available to respond to your needs. However, due to the ever-changing situation around Coronavirus, please be aware that at certain times during the day you may have to wait longer than usual to speak to our team.

For non-urgent customer service matters, we would encourage you to email us please at scotlandhelp@firstport.co.uk, where we will respond to you as quickly as possible.

Interacting with your neighbours and development staff:

It’s more important than ever that we all follow the Government guidance, to keep you, your neighbours and our staff safe. As a reminder, to stop the spread of the virus, the Government asks that you:

  • Wear a face covering
  • Avoid crowded places
  • Clean hands and surfaces regularly
  • Stay 2m away from other people
  • Self-isolate and book a test if you have COVID-19 symptoms (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste)

Our permanent on-site employees provide you with essential support and will remain working at your development, making sure your development is safe, clean and comfortable. Our employees are aware that they must not come to work if they or anyone in their household is showing symptoms of Covid-19. They are strictly following social distancing guidance and, where possible, will try to avoid the use of public transport to travel to their development. This may impact their available hours at the development, but they will continue to be available as usual during working hours even if they are not on site.

We’ll make sure our contractors remain vigilant too, following social distancing guidance at all times and wearing appropriate PPE whilst in communal areas. They also know they must not attend site if they or any of their household have symptoms or have been unwell.

Fire Safety:

According to the National Fire Chiefs Council, firefighters are called to a greater number of domestic fires at times when more people are at home – such as evening, weekends and bank holidays.  So while we’re all at home much more than usual at the moment, we wanted to share some helpful tips to help you minimise the risk of fire:  click here to read more on the FirstPort group website.

For Retirement developments:

  • We’re keeping developments in the best possible condition to stop any virus from spreading. We have asked our cleaners to concentrate on high touch areas such as door handles, lift call buttons, and stair rails.
  • Development Managers are continuing to work from our retirement developments in line with the Government guidance. We’ve tweaked some of their duties in order to observe social distancing guidance, such as cancelling in-apartment services, but they continue to complete important development safety checks and daily checks on all our residents remotely from their office using the warden call system or telephone.  They are also on-hand to provide support and guidance to any residents who may be struggling.
  • We’ve helped residents to follow the Government’s social distancing guidance by closing our communal lounges and setting up Laundry room rotas.  We’ve also asked residents to only travel in development lifts with people within their households.

We have  created a suite of posters to help our residents understand the restrictions at their development under the Government’s Protection Level System:

Find out what you can do in your development in Level 0

Find out what you can do in your development in Level 1

Find out what you can do in your development in Level 2

Find out what you can do in your development in Level 3

Find out what you can do in your development in Level 4

For Property Services developments:

  • Bins/Refuse collections: Normal service has now resumed. If you notice any refuse issues, please notify your property manager via email at scotlandhelp@firstport.co.uk and we will liaise with the local authority and/or key contractors, as required.
  • Communal area cleaning & garden maintenance: Normal service has now resumed. We are reinforcing to all operatives that they must be strictly following social distancing instructions and must not attend site if they or any of their household have symptoms or have been unwell, in accordance with the latest public health guidance.
  • Lifts: Our main lift contractors have confirmed that they will only be carrying out site visits for entrapments and emergency call outs. We would therefore still encourage you to use the stairs rather than the lift if this is possible or you are able to do so. If you do need to use the lift, please make sure you do not share it with anyone outside of your household in order to adhere with social distancing requirements. In the event of a lift failure please use the emergency call point in the lift and call emergency services on 999 if there are no FirstPort staff on site.
  • Communal Heating Systems (where present): If there is a communal heating system at your development and this were to breakdown, please be aware that response times to repair this are likely to be delayed but will be attended to as soon as possible.
  • Please be vigilant: Whilst we are all adjusting to these new circumstances, please help us and yourselves to reduce any opportunistic crimes. Please make sure your possessions are locked away, doors are kept closed, and report any acts of vandalism or suspicious behaviour by strangers to the police.
  • Fire Safety: The communal fire systems, where applicable, have been tested and are fully operational. However, should you notice a fault on a fire panel please contact scotlandhelp@firstport.co.uk or call 0333 321 4077. During this time emergency services are likely to be stretched, so please do take extra care to reduce the risk of fires by making sure that:
    • No items are left in stairwells or corridors
    • All rubbish is placed in bins – please do not leave refuse in communal areas
    • All fire exits are kept clear
    • You and all persons in your household know the evacuation procedure in the event of a fire in your property
    • Please check that the smoke detectors within your property are operating correctly
  • Property manager: Your visiting property manager will be working at home during this period but they are still available to assist with any questions you may have during working hours. They are planning ahead with operational colleagues to make sure that we are ready once these restrictions are relaxed to reinstate any reduced services as quickly as possible. We are also working to make sure that essential services, for instance reactive maintenance to breakdowns, leaks or electrical faults, or pest control can still be undertaken wherever possible by our contractors.
  • Services still continuing: Our head office support teams are still working hard to support all of our customers. The business is monitoring the government advice closely to make sure that we are able to support you as best we can during these unprecedented circumstances. We are regularly updating our website with residents’ guidance, as well as issuing communications to customers via Your Property Online. We will continue to:
    • Work closely with our main framework contractors to ensure our supply chain can still support our developments for any reactive and high priority call outs during this time.
    • Manage the buildings, terrorism and any other relevant insurances for our development.
    • Manage your development bank account, held in trust for you and your neighbours.
    • Manage your annual accounts and budgets.
    • Support your contractors so that they are able to come back to work for you after these restrictions are lifted.

Useful information

With more people staying at home, drainage systems can come under strain and be more prone to blockages. Please can we ask that non-biodegradable items, such as baby wipes, sanitary towels, nappies and cotton buds, are not flushed down toilets or disposed of in sinks to avoid blockages and any significant costs that can occur when issues arise. Please can these items be thrown away or recycled instead.

As you know, this is a developing situation and we would urge you to refer to the Government advice to stay up to date with the latest information and guidance.

Government advice on Coronavirus

Government information and advice on the Coronavirus situation in Scotland is available at:

Government advice on foreign travel

If you think you have Coronavirus symptoms

  • Please follow  the NHS and Government guidance about how to self-isolate
  • You do not need to call NHS 24 (111) to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after seven days, contact NHS 24 (111) at www.nhs24.scot. If you have no internet access, call NHS 24 (111). For a medical emergency dial 999.

If you are diagnosed with Coronavirus and/or are self-isolating

  • Please follow the NHS and Government guidance about how to self-isolate
  • Please notify our customer service team on 0333 321 4077 or email scotlandhelp@firstport.co.uk
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