Many of us use portable electric space heaters to help keep us warm, but they can be hazardous if not used properly. Take precautions to keep your family safe from fire or burns. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an average of 50,100 home heating fires occurred in the U.S. each year from 2008 to 2010. About 900 fires are attributed to portable heaters. While they represent only 2 percent of home heating fires, portable heaters were involved in 45 percent of all heating fires with a fatality.