UK fire organisations have put their services online in a bid to provide advice to the general public. The newly launched Fire Gateway website includes information on how to check that your home is safe with regard to fire prevention. The public can also make non-emergency requests from fire brigades online.

The Fire Gateway website is "not intended to deal with requests for emergency services" - these should still be made by dialling 999, according to the Fire Service .

However, it will be possible to request fire brigades to attend school and community events, as well as free home fire safety visits, via the website.

Angela Smith, the minister responsible for the fire service, said: "Recently in New York eight children and one adult died in a house fire, and we are trying to prevent a repeat of such a terrible incident here by offering the self assessment and advice."

The site has already been trialled, during which time over 1,500 requests were submitted by members of the public.

Barry Dixon of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: "A huge proportion of the work of modern Fire and Rescue Services is about prevention through education, partnership, advice and support. The Fire Gateway will ultimately help to make homes and businesses throughout England even safer."