The Minneapolis Fire Department will start accepting applications next month for new firefighters.
Officials say they expect a flood of responses, because the department received more than 1,500 applications the last time it put out the call for new recruits six years ago.
Fire Chief John Fruetel said more than 10 percent of firefighters will be eligible to retire next year and the department needs to have a pool of new recruits available to hire in the coming years.
"The 'silver tsunami' that the mayor likes to refer to is certainly going to come to this department," Fruetel said. "It's going to be very, very important that this department maintain a distinct level of diversity that certainly mirrors the community it serves."
Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak said next year's budget includes $1.1 million to hire new firefighter cadets who are already being trained.
"That, on top of a federal grant means we will be adding 15 firefighters to the base of the department and they should be in the stations by May," Rybak said.
New applicants have to be 18 years of age or older, have a high school diploma or GED, be able to read at a 10th-grade level and have a valid driver's license.