Gerard Hoover sighed. His new security guard monitoring system wasn’t working as well as he hoped. With his staff of guards scattered around the city and working alone, he wanted to make sure they were doing their job, as well as ensure their safety – especially at night. Each checkpoint at each facility was online. The guard had to activate each one at a certain time, plus or minus fifteen minutes. Else the system would report an infraction. At first he had the system call him at home for each missed event. But he was being awaken several times each night and would drag through the next day in a stupor. Rarely was there a serious problem, with any number of understandable reasons why a guard was a tad late or a bit early. Often the explanation was a result of the guard investigating some other anomaly, according to their protocol. He had such a great staff. Fatigued, Gerard soon disabled the notification option and changed it to just log everything. Then he would review the logs each morning for anomalies. But then he seemed to spend half his days checking with the guards for an explanation. Plus if something had happened to one of them in the middle of the night, he wouldn’t find out until much too late. Both options were unacceptable, but he struggled to find the ideal solution. His girlfriend, however, knew exactly what to do. “You need an answering service,” she said without hesitation. “I don’t need my phone answered,” he said with a bit of irritation. “I need to monitor my guards and know they’re safe.” “An answering service can do that. Did you know I worked at one during college?” He didn’t, and this new knowledge somehow drew him to her even more. “How would it work? “You program your monitoring system to call the answering service,” she said. “They’ll give you a number just for you to use for that purpose.” He nodded, anxious to hear more. “You give them the guidelines you use to evaluate early, late, or missed check points. They’ll apply your instructions and only contact you if something serious occurs. Your system can’t make those determinations, but a person can. Plus they can call the guards if they have a concern. They should be able to handle 95 percent of the alerts, and you’ll be able to get your beauty sleep and not be such a grouch on our dates.” “You make it sound so simple.” “It is. And if you want, I’ll even call them to set it up.” “That would be wonderful,” Gerard said with a relieved sigh. She’s definitely a keeper.Peter Lyle DeHaan is a freelance writer from Southwest Michigan. Contact us to learn how a telephone answering service can monitor your alarms and automated systems 24/7 and let you get a good night’s sleep.