sorry if i sound stupid for this but i'm not totally sure about how SEO works. i could possably be getting a .gov backlink from a firedepartment.. will this help out my rainking?
Not exactly. It is a myth that having a .gov link is a guarantee of good ranking. You should emphasis on making website more useful for users rather than doing silly things. Then hire a SEO Provider which always use ethical and white hat techniques only.
as long your backlink is quality then it will help you to improve your ranking. Gov website mostly do have high pr able to build a more point of backlink to you. But if you is me , i will get more backlink from other site as well become get backlink on one website are not enough.
As others have said, it depends on the page rank of that .gov site inorder to work out what kind of link juice is passed though. It also depends on what anchor text you use in the link back to your site.
It depends on many aspects, what PageRank does the .gov site get? How many outbound links it has? Its contents update regularly? How about its cache updating?... etc. Generally high PageRank .gov sites with few outbound links definitely will be beneficial.