Three in 10 British adults don’t know what number to dial if they need an ambulance, fire assistance or the police, according to a new study.
The research reveals that millions of Brits would be hopeless in the event of an emergency.
Almost seven in 10 don’t know their own blood type, 50 per cent have no idea how to put someone in the recovery position and four in 10 don’t know their way to the nearest hospital.
The poll of 2,000 UK adults also shows a lack of knowledge of basic tasks around the home like checking if the smoke alarm is working, what to do if the electricity goes off, and who to call if you smell gas.
Nearly half also think they would feel panicked, nervous and stressed in an emergency situation.
Gail Hunter, a spokesperson for leading fire and security company ADT, who commissioned the research said: “We are surprised by the findings of this research as householders should be prepared for emergencies that can take place at any time.
Unfortunately, people don’t often think it could happen to them but ensuring that you and your family have safety precautions in place and basic knowledge of what to do if there is an emergency by visiting the NHS website, could help to save lives.
“For many people, the festive season is a time to enjoy the company of friends and loved ones but with the increased use of fairy lights, decorations and candles, accidents do happen, despite warnings from our emergency services.”
Official figures show a rise in the number of residential fires during the festive season yet despite this, the survey found a third of adults have no idea how to tell if the smoke alarm is working or not, while 41 per cent don’t know who to call in the event of a fire.
Worryingly, over half of those questioned don’t regularly check that their fire alarms are working while one in 10 think that testing them twice a year is enough.
Other safety measures around the home which bewilder many adults include what to do if a pipe bursts, where to find the stop cock to turn off the water and how to change a lightbulb or fuse in a plug.
The survey also found that medical hazards which would leave respondents completely puzzled include what do if someone had an allergic reaction or what to do if someone is choking.
While seven in 10 Britons have no idea what their own blood type is and so would be unable to inform a medical expert if needed, while 41 per cent don’t know their own National Insurance number.
The car is also a cause for confusion, as 68 per cent of people don’t know how to change a tyre, 58 per cent wouldn’t know what to do if they broke down and 52 per cent don’t know how to check oil levels.
Two thirds of those polled believe they are pretty savvy when it comes to their own basic safety, although 45 per cent don’t think they have the basic skills required to deal with a home fire, while 55 per cent feel unable to cope with a break in.
A health emergency would leave 64 per cent of adults in a pickle, while 58 per cent wouldn’t feel able to cope with a car or vehicle breakdown.
Gail Hunter of ADT added: “Ensuring candles are out, keeping decorations away from lights and heaters and avoiding leaving cooking unattended can all help to reduce the risk of fire.
“A round the clock monitored fire system, like the one offered by ADT, will alert the fire brigade immediately if a fire starts, which ensure peace of mind.
“It is important that in the event of a fire you have a planned emergency escape route, you should also have a fully stocked first aid kit and be are able to perform basic first aid.
“Most importantly make sure you keep emergency numbers in a safe place where you can access them quickly and easily.
“Research has shown the majority of fire deaths in London happen when there is a delay in people dialling 999. By putting all of these precautions in place you are ensuring the safety of you and your loved ones. “