Oslo schools shut due to faulty fire extinguishers

All Oslo schools were evacuated on Thursday, after fire and safety officials determined some 500 fire-extinguishers containing carbon-dioxide gas posed a serious explosion risk if disturbed.

Oslo schools shut due to faulty fire extinguishers
Photo: Thing Three (File)

"The compressed carbon dioxide extinguishers installed in Oslo schools between 2006 and 2011 may have a production fault … and can explode on contact," the municipality said in a statement.

"To be safe, the education administration … has decided to suspend and/or reorganise classes today," it added.

Around midday, it was unclear how many students had been sent home.

According to official municipal statistics, nearly 69,000 students attend Oslo's primary and secondary schools.

A valve production error was the cause of the urgent recall that began at midday and continued into the afternoon, when city officials held a press conference.

Newspaper Dagbladet wrote that the country’s preparedness directorate for natural disasters had warned of the explosion dangers as early as August 2011.

Kids in high school and middle school, or videregaaende and ungdomskole, were allowed to go home. In most schools, children were told to wait in supervised schoolyards until picked up by parents.

Some school principals chose instead to cordon off rooms where the suspicious canisters were hung and to continue classes.

“My immediate reaction is that someone has not done their job,” an angry parent of two was quoted by Dagbladet as saying.

The danger is said to lie in German-made extinguishers installed between 2006 and 2011. The potential risk was discovered on Wednesday, when it was learned the extinguishers had been recalled from the market.

City of Oslo education officials said Norske Sikkerhetspartner was the school system’s supplier for the extinguishers.

The purchasing and sale of fire extinguishers in Norway has become fraught with suspicion in recent years, after residents in the south of the country wanting to secure homes with extra devices were sold faulty or empty containers by men driving unmarked vans and posing as fire-safety officials.

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Norwegian women with Indian heritage smash national average to become doctors

One in every five women in Norway with Indian heritage becomes a doctor, according to a report in the Scandinavian country.

Norwegian women with Indian heritage smash national average to become doctors

The high proportion of the demographic taking the medical career path is in part due to the influence of their parents, according to a report by national broadcaster NRK.

“The medical profession is highly respected in India. You hear that from your parents, and you are influenced by that,” Doctor Archana Sharma, whose parents moved to Norway from India, told NRK.

The high status of the medical profession in India influences career choices in Norway, the broadcaster writes.

The Institute for Social Research in Oslo has found that, for Norwegian women between the ages of 26 and 35 and with Indian heritage, almost one in five have completed medical studies.

By comparison, only one in 100 women with Norwegian-born parents in the same age group become doctors, according to the study, which was reported by newspaper Utrop.

“Many people experience very strong expectations that they will go into higher education, preferably within the type of high-status professions which provide security and good pay,” sociologist and project manager for the study Arnfinn Midtbøen told NRK.

“This shows that the migration [of the women’s parents, ed.] was successful,” Midtbøen also said.

An Oslo medicine student told NRK that her parents valued higher education without pressuring her.

“They have encouraged me here and throughout my childhood, but I felt no pressure to choose medicine. I think it is very common in Indian families that parents encourage children from an early stage to go into higher education,” Anisha Sharma told the broadcaster.

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