Training Smart and Safe: A Conversation with a Guardian Security Monitoring Supervisor

by Guardian Protection Services
You’re probably deep into your training for race weekend. Are you excited? Same here at Guardian Protection.

We have branches and customers all over the country, but since our start here in 1950, Pittsburgh holds a special place in our hearts. Thousands of community members, even some Guardian team members, participate in the DICK’S Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon weekend of events every year — and in 2019, Guardian is the Official Smart Home Security Partner!

Guardian also offered to sponsor employees interested in participating in any Pittsburgh Marathon event this year. When we found out one of our runners was a supervisor at our Pittsburgh monitoring station, we just had to catch up with him.  

That supervisor is none other than Brad Lotis. Brad has been with us since 2015. While his official title at the Pittsburgh Central Station is Supervisor — based on the number of people he has helped and his all-around positive attitude — it should be Rockstar. 
We sat down with Brad recently to talk marathon training, get an inside look at our monitoring operations, and while we’re at it, snag more safety tips from someone who lives and breathes this stuff!
Reclaiming Your Run
For Brad, the offer to get involved with the Pittsburgh Marathon was an exciting and timely opportunity. He recently got back into a running routine, and this was the perfect way to light a fire under his efforts. While this will be his first time running the UPMC Health Plan / UPMC Sports Medicine Pittsburgh 5K Run, he was already in the process of training before he registered. Brad set out to run a 5K every day to get back in shape, and a hard deadline in the form of race weekend has been a great motivator! 
As a young professional with a wife and children, it’s easy to understand how Brad drifted away from regular workouts — who can find the time? Also, like so many people, Brad used to have an unenthusiastic view on running in general. It’s unsurprising that someone active in organized sports could come to view running as a chore, rather than enjoyable act of self-care. 
“I used to do a ton of running when I played baseball — but they kind of made it not fun,” he admitted with a laugh. “Now I’m learning to like it more on my own terms.”
The personal challenge is part of what Brad enjoys most. “Everyone’s pace is their own, and you can set your own goal and work towards it. Any exercise is better than nothing. Running can be challenging no matter what your skill level is — which is great.” 
Brad has a set a personal goal to finish the 5K in under 30 minutes and is making strides every day. “Little by little I’m building myself up!” he said. “It would definitely be great to come in under 30 minutes, but regardless, it’s going to be cool just to cross that finish line.”
Placing Quality Over Quantity
Everyone who runs has had to “start running” at some point. It seems like something that wouldn’t require a lot of thought — you just go outside and run. But as many of us have learned the hard way, running requires careful attention to form when you’re learning. Better to take your time and do it right than go straight for a sprint and pull a muscle! 
Training on the monitoring team is shaped by the same school of thought. Putting too much focus on call length and volume may not result in the best customer experiences. Instead, they invest as much time as needed on every call, so customers never feel rushed. According to Brad, this is a message that’s delivered to employees on day one. 
“We always say, don’t worry about your speed or how fast you are making the calls. Focus on getting them right, because what you’re doing is important. We make sure our training and quality is on point before we even talk about efficiency.”
As with any career, or any sport for that matter, training at Guardian is ongoing. “What we do requires a well-designed, executable training program. We do it all ourselves, in-house. We want to set our people up for success.”
Setting a Healthy Pace
We asked Brad if any monitoring center calls stood out in his mind as particularly intense. “Yes and no,” he answered thoughtfully. “There really are a lot of serious events, and they all stick with you.”
These emotionally-charged experiences can be rewarding, but they can also be taxing. The effect may not be as straightforward as straining a muscle from excessive exercise, but if you don’t pace yourself, working with real people in emergency situations can take a lot out of you in a different way. 
“Because the work we are doing requires so much care, it’s a huge focus to make sure that our protection specialists are pacing themselves throughout the day. We look out for each other like a family. When the team is healthy, happy, and feeling good, that’s going to transfer to the work they do.” 
Letting Victories Propel You Forward
Anything worth doing will have its ups and downs. Every workout isn’t exhilarating, and every race isn’t record-breaking. On tougher days, remembering the high points can help you power through that last mile. Our monitoring team knows this, which is why they are all about capturing those great moments and celebrating success. 
Brad explained that after an incident, a customer may call back just to say thank you for being there, which gives everyone on the monitoring team a huge boost. “It’s important to us to recognize our protection specialists. We take every opportunity to share stories demonstrating the positive impact we make in people’s lives.”
Securing Your Race Everyday
Of course, we couldn’t let Brad go without sharing some security tips. 
  • First and foremost, he said, invest in a security system for your house — ideally one that is professionally monitored — and make sure it’s armed every time you leave the house. 
  • Second, take care of those easy points of entry, like the front door and first-floor windows. 
  • Third, be aware of any safety barriers created by the way you design your yard, and we mean barriers in a negative way (think very tall shrubs that block your home from view). 
  • Fourth and final: Always know your security system password and keep it safe! 
Looking for even more security tips? Check out our last blog post on staying safe while away from home. 
Finishing Strong
When asked if there was anything about our monitoring center he wished people knew, his focus returned immediately to the team. “These people are really special, and they really care about what they do,” he said.
When asked if he expected to see familiar faces at the Pittsburgh Marathon, he broke into a smile. “I certainly hope so! We have great synergy across departments at Guardian, and I’ve been encouraging everyone I run into to participate.”
But the faces Brad is most eager to see at the finish line are his children. “I’ve got three little ones and I’m going to try to have them at the race. I want to teach them that even when they encounter something tough, you face up to the challenge, do your best and finish it!”
Now that’s a moment worth training for. 

Don't forget! Guardian Protection Services is giving away a home security system to one lucky runner in the Guardian service area! Click here to complete a Google Form for your chance to be entered into the random drawing. Please note you must live in the Greater Pittsburgh Area to be eligible to win. 

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