Author Archive: southashfordcf

Chair of South Ashford Community Forum

Covid-19 scams

Criminals use any opportunity to trick people into parting with their money. The Coronavirus pandemicis no exception.

Take Five to stop fraud
Think before responding to unexpected letters, phone calls, emails or texts.
Be wary of messages and posts on social media.

The following is details of some of the scams reported:

Doorstep crime

  • Callers claiming to be able to undertake a test for Covid-19, either for a fee or as a way of gaining entry to carry out theft.
  • Criminals targeting older people on their doorstep and offering to do their shopping. Thieves take the money and do not return.
  • Doorstep cleansing services that offer to clean drives and doorways to kill bacteria and help prevent the spread of the virus.

Online scams

Including emails, texts, social media and What’s App messages

  • Scams that trick people into opening malicious attachments, which put people at risk of identity theft with personal information, passwords, contacts and bank details at risk. Some of these emails have lured people to click on attachments by
    • claiming to be from the Department for Education, asking for bank details to receive support in place of free school meals
    • claiming to be from the government or HMRC offering a refund or grant
    • claiming to be from the government and issuing a fine for leaving your house
    • offering information about people in the local area who are affected by coronavirus.
    • offering a voucher from a well known supermarket to help during the epidemic.
  • Fake online resources – such as false Coronavirus Maps – that deliver malware such as AZORult Trojan, an information stealing program which can infiltrate a variety of sensitive data. A prominent example that has deployed malware is ‘corona-virus-map[dot]com’.

Refund scams

  • Companies offering fake holiday refunds for individuals who have been forced to cancel their trips. People seeking refunds should also be wary of fake websites set up to claim holiday refunds.

Counterfeit goods

  • Fake sanitisers, face masks and Covid19 swabbing kits sold online and door-to-door. These products can often be dangerous and unsafe. There are reports of some potentially harmful hand sanitiser containing glutaral (or glutaraldehyde), which was banned for human use in 2014.

Telephone scams

  • As more people self-isolate at home there is an increasing risk that telephone scams will also rise, including criminals claiming to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.

Donation scams

  • There have been reports of thieves extorting money from consumers by claiming they are collecting donations for
    • a COVID-19 ‘vaccine’.
    • supplies for the NHS or other services

Loan sharks

  • Illegal money lenders are expected to prey on people’s financial hardship, lending money before charging extortionate interest rates and fees through threats and violence

Investment Scam

Encouraging people to invest or to move their pensions or invesments to take advantage of the downturn caused by the pandemic

STOP

Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.


CHALLENGE

Could it be fake? It’s ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests. Only criminals will try to rush or panic you.


PROTECT

Contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud.

#Scamaware

KFRS customer promise consultation

Fire service personell

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) are consulting on their Customer Promise

KFRS exist to help keep you safe whether at work, home or as you move around Kent and Medway. They deliver services for everyone working and living in our changing community. They aim to give people advice and support in order to reduce the risk of fire and other emergencies as they go about their daily lives. Of course, accidents still happen and they aim to provide an excellent emergency response when it is needed, meeting the needs of every individual involved.

The KFRS customer promise sets out what you are entitled to expect from them, and what they expect from our staff. It also outlines the standards that they have set in the key areas of service that they know are important to you. And because a statement is simply a statement, you will find quantifiable targets by which their performance can be measured in their action plans. Above all, it is their commitment to provide you with an assured level of service, giving you the peace of mind that they are working to help you stay safe in your home, at work and when you’re out and about in Kent and Medway.

There when you need them

  • Everyone in Kent has a right to expect an excellent response from Kent Fire and Rescue Service.
  • They will always seek to innovate so we can deliver a service that meets changing local needs.
  • To develop a better understanding of our customers’ needs so they can provide services that fit your needs and accessible advice to help you keep yourself, your home and your business safe.

Respect, fairness, compassion

  • KFRS recognise without bias the rights, needs and dignity of others in all our contact with you.
  • They will work to see things from our customers’ perspective and treat everyone with compassion, fairness and respect
  • They will ensure all people, but particularly those with a disability; lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender people (LGBT); ethnic minority people; older people; and people from minority faiths, are aware of ther services, feel confident to access them and understand how they can be adapted to meet individual needs.

Working with you to deliver good value services

  • KFRS will seek your views and listen to your feedback to help them shape and deliver services.
  • They will continue to deliver the best service they can by setting targets and honestly reviewing performance to see where they can improve.
  • They will spend public money in a way that maximises community benefits.
  • They will take a common sense approach to our work with partners including police, ambulance and public health to save money, avoid waste and build safer, resilient communities.
  • They will continue to work in a way that minimises their impact on the environment.

To listen, learn, and resolve your problems

  • KFRS will make it easy for you to contact them. 
  • Staff will listen and deal with you in a professional, friendly way, avoiding jargon and taking responsibility to resolve your issue.
  • They will respect and protect your privacy and personal data. They maintain a secure network and servers to safeguard your data against malicious activity.
  • Despite best efforts they occasionally make mistakes. When things do go wrong, they want you to feel confident that they will listen and deal with your complaint quickly and learn lessons to improve their services.

Kent Fire and Rescue Service
https://www.kent.fire-uk.org/about-us/our-customer-promise/

Enjoy bonfires and barbecues responsibly

With many spending their extra time at home in the garden we remind you to be careful and considerate when lighting bonfires and barbecues.

Please consult your neighbours before lighting a bonfire or barbecue, essential workers may need to wash clothes more frequently and smoke can aggravate some medical conditions. Neighbours may also mistake bonfire smoke as being from a property or uncontrolled fire and call the fire brigade.

Rules regarding bonfires.

You must not burn general household waste, but may burn garden waste from your own garden if this is done without causing a nuisance to others.

If there is no alternative to having a bonfire, you must:

  • Ensure that smoke does not cause a nuisance to neighbours.
  • Ensure that the smoke does not affect highway safety

and you should:

  • Avoid burning in hot weather – when neighbours are more likely to need windows open
  • Notify neighbours that you will be having a fire
  • Ensure that the fire burns quickly, rather than be left to smoulder
  • Ensure that green waste has completely dried out prior to burning
  • Ensure that the fire is not left unattended, and have a means to extinguish a fire if necessary
  • Ensure that the wind direction will take any smoke away from neighbouring properties

Burning of commercial waste

In addition to the law of nuisance, it is an offence to burn commercial waste (including construction and demolition waste), and to produce dark smoke from industrial or trade premises. No bonfires should be lit on commercial premises, except for the burning of ‘green’ landscaping waste cut down at that property.

Fire service safety advice:

  • Remember to build your bonfire well clear of buildings, garden sheds, fences, hedges and overhanging branches.
  • Keep it to a manageable size and make sure it is evenly built so it collapses inwards as it burns.
  • Always have a bucket of water or hosepipe nearby in case of emergency. If the bonfire becomes out of control and catches foliage or property alight, call 999.
  • Be sure not to leave bonfires unattended and dampen them down fully once you’re done.

Those enjoying barbecues are also urged to do so safely, keeping cooking well away from fences, foliage and buildings even if there are no flames, because radiated heat alone can cause nearby plants or structures catch fire.  

Ashford Borough Council
https://www.ashford.gov.uk/the-environment/environmental-health/bonfires-and-wood-burners/bonfires/

Kent Fire and Rescue Service
https://www.kent.fire-uk.org/news/news-releases/april-2020/rise-in-bonfire-999-calls-linked-to-covid-19-isolation/

Stagecoach timetable changes

Stagecoach bus services and timetables are temporarily changing due to COVID-19

Following government advice to limit non-essential travel, we’re making changes to our South East services and timetables from Monday 30 March 2020.

The changes ensure that essential routes are maintained wherever possible. Please make sure you’ve got the most up-to-date information.   At the moment, the latest information won’t be available on our journey planner but click below to download the temporary timetables: 

Temporary timetables >

If you’re a key worker and need to give us feedback on our temporary timetables across West Scotland because you’re concerned they don’t meet your needs, or you have comments about social distancing you can do so here.
If you need more information about our response to COVID- 19, please visit our Coronavirus webpage
We want to reassure you that our absolute priority is to protect the safety of our customers and employees. So, we’ve introduced enhanced hygiene measures across all our buses and are encouraging the use of contactless payment, which keeps us all a little safer. You can pay by contactless with your card or device on all our buses so please go contactless if you can.

Hygiene

Everybody should follow basic hygiene measures that help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases.

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds,
    particularly
    • after you sneeze or cough
    • when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Staying at home

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures.

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Staying at home

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded.

If you work in a critical sector outlined in this guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes

Delivering these new measures

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.

Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.

The Government will therefore be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply.

They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

High risk from Coronovirus

Those who are at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus (COVID-19) should be particularly stringent in following social distancing measures.

This group includes those who are:

Note: there are some clinical conditions which put people at even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If you are in this category, next week the NHS in England will directly contact you with advice the more stringent measures you should take in order to keep yourself and others safe. For now, you should rigorously follow the social distancing advice in full, outlined below.

People falling into this group are those who may be at particular risk due to complex health problems such as:

  • people who have received an organ transplant and remain on ongoing immunosuppression medication
  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia who are at any stage of treatment
  • people with severe chest conditions such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma (requiring hospital admissions or courses of steroid tablets)
  • people with severe diseases of body systems, such as severe kidney disease (dialysis)

Public Health England
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

Stay at home advice

Staying at home can help stop coronavirus spreading

You’ll need to stay at home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

Stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

Staying at home means you should:

  • not go to work, school or public areas
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home

You can use your garden, if you have one. You can also leave the house to exercise – but stay at least 2 metres away from other people.Information:

If you’re not sure if you need to stay at home

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the 111 coronavirus service to find out what to do.

How long to stay at home

If you have symptoms

If you have symptoms of coronavirus, you’ll need to stay at home for 7 days.

After 7 days:

  • if you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to stay at home
  • if you still have a high temperature, stay at home until your temperature returns to normal

You do not need to stay at home if you just have a cough after 7 days. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.

If you live with someone who has symptoms

If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to stay at home for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.

If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.

If you get symptoms, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you’re at home for longer than 14 days.

If you do not get symptoms, you can stop staying at home after 14 days.

Get an isolation note to give to your employer

If you live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, you can get an isolation note to send to your employer as proof you need to stay off work.

You do not need to get a note from a GP.Get an isolation noteInformation:

If you have symptoms of coronavirus and need to stay at home, use the 111 coronavirus service to get an isolation note.

If you have symptoms and live with a vulnerable person

If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to arrange for them to stay with friends or family for 14 days.

If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.

Do

  • try to keep 2 metres (3 steps) away from each other
  • avoid using shared spaces, such as kitchens or bathrooms, at the same time as each other
  • open windows in shared spaces if you can
  • clean a shared bathroom each time you use it, for example by wiping the surfaces you have touched
  • use a dishwasher if you have one – if you do not have one, use washing-up liquid and warm water and dry everything thoroughly

Don’t

  • do not share a bed, if possible
  • do not share towels, including hand towels and tea towels

Reducing the spread of infection in your home

While you’re staying at home, you should:

  • wash your hands with soap and water often, for at least 20 seconds
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • clean objects and surfaces you touch often (like door handles, kettles and phones) using your regular cleaning products

How to do your cleaning and laundry

Use your usual household products, such as detergents and bleach, when you clean your home.

Put used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths in rubbish bags. Then put the bag into a second bag and tie it securely. Wait 3 days before putting it in your outside bin.

Dispose of other household waste as normal.

Wash your laundry in the washing machine in the usual way. Laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. Do not shake dirty laundry, as this may spread the virus in the air.

If you do not have a washing machine, wait for 3 days after your stay at home has ended before taking your laundry to a launderette.

Looking after your health and wellbeing

To help yourself stay well while you’re at home:

  • drink plenty of water to stay hydrated – drink enough so your pee is pale and clear
  • take paracetamol to help ease your symptoms
  • stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media, to help you avoid feeling low or lonely
  • try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
  • do light exercise, if you feel well enough to

There is advice about how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home from Every Mind Matters.

Ibuprofen

There is currently no strong evidence that ibuprofen can make coronavirus (COVID-19) worse.

But until we have more information, take paracetamol to treat the symptoms of coronavirus, unless your doctor has told you paracetamol is not suitable for you.

If you are already taking ibuprofen or another non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) on the advice of a doctor, do not stop taking it without checking first.

What to do if you need medical help if you have to stay at home

If you get symptoms not related to coronavirus and need medical help:

  • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
  • if it’s not an emergency, use the NHS 111 online service – call 111 if you cannot get help online
  • if it’s an emergency, call 999 – tell the call handler you may have coronavirus

Cancel all routine face-to-face medical and dental appointments while you’re staying at home. You may be able to do some appointments over the phone.

Urgent advice:Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse

Use the 111 coronavirus service

Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.

NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice/