The Los Angeles Fire Department is gearing up for its first recruitment effort since 2009 after a recent wave of retirements.

About 350 positions are expected to be available over the next couple of years, said department spokesman Matt Spence.

The selection process will be competitive, said Spence, who notes that 17,000 people expressed interest in becoming city firefighters three years ago. The Los Angeles City Council has established a new website dedicated to recruitment and hiring: www.joinlafd.org.

Prospective candidates must pass the Candidate Physical Ability Test which includes climbing stairs, making forcible entry, dragging a hose, and raising and extending a ladder.

Applicants must be 18 and have a high school diploma, General Education Development or California High School Proficiency Examination certificate. A valid California driver’s license and Emergency Medical Technician certificate are required prior to appointment.

Recruits must be in excellent heath and have no conditions that would stop them from doing fire suppression and rescue work. Their weight must be proportionate to their height, they must have uncorrected visual acuity of at least 20/100 in one eye and 20/40 in the other and must also be nonsmokers throughout their employment with the department.