ADULTS in the South East have called 999 twice on average in their lives, according to new data.

Almost a third of people in the region also did not know they can call 101 for a police non-emergency issue.

The survey was commissioned by BT to mark 999 Day last Monday, which celebrates the work of emergency workers.

Across the country, women are far more likely to know they can call 111 in a medical non-emergency, with 52 per cent of females knowing when to call the number, compared to 38 per cent of men.

Other interesting findings include that over half of adults in the South East didn’t know that smartphones can provide the exact location of a 999 call, by sending a text message to the handler.

BT, who handle initial 999 calls before routing them to the relevant emergency services, say that the number of calls they receive has increased significantly.

It was at 25 million a year in 2000, but last year was close to 33 million.

Geoff Hickman, Head of Voice Services at BT, said: “We are now handling record numbers of 999 calls each year. There may be several reasons for this, but it’s clear from the survey that not everyone knows when to call the emergency number, and when to call the range of non-emergency numbers.

“Our call handlers and emergency services do phenomenal work, so anything we can do to help them respond more efficiently, and potentially save lives, has to be a good thing.”