Fire suppression equipment must be manned.

Does it mean that operators should be provided? The meaning for "man" is somewhat ambiguous for me.

According to Cambridge dictionary, "man" (verb) means:

To man something such as a machine or vehicle is to be present in order to operate it

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means:

to supply with people (as for service)

Does it mean that personnel should be provided along with the device being provided?

  • You have your answers from the dictionaries. What do you not understand?manned=there must be someone to operate it, a person must be supplied to operate it. Contrast: unmanned space vehicle....
    – Lambie
    Mar 23, 2019 at 16:55
  • No more than you'd expect to be supplied with a driver when you buy a car. As with a car, fire suppression equipment needs someone to operate it, but that doesn't imply the supplier must or should provide the operator as well as the "hardware". Mar 23, 2019 at 16:58

2 Answers 2


Here manned is used as adjective and it means operated or controlled by people

An outpost manned by Indian troops.

Fire suppression equipment must be manned.

means equipment must be designed in such a way that it is operated and contolled by people.


This is a little hard to tell without context, but basically it could mean that someone should be available to operate the equipment - that is the most likely interpretation. Even within that, it could mean that they are actively manned - someone is standing ready to operate them at all times - or just that there is someone nearby who can stop what they are doing to operate the equipment.

Manned is also occasionally used, in my experience, to mean "not automatic".

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