With hurricanes disrupting our oil supply, heating bills could rise by as much as 50% this winter. Many of us may turn to portable heaters to ward off the chill. But we should take precautions to protect ourselves. “There were 10,900 fires and 190 deaths in one year recently due to portable heaters,” says Marc Ross, of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. He recommends choosing one that’s been tested for safety by a certified lab like Underwriters Laboratories. It should have automatic shut-off valves in case it tips over, sensors that warn if carbon monoxide levels get too high and guards to protect you from the heating coils, which get very hot. You should also make sure that your heater is sitting on a hard, level surface, away from rugs, bedding, drapes and places where kids and pets might play. “Don’t forget to turn it off when you go to sleep,” Ross adds.